By MCKENZIE CASSIDY
Twelve-year-old children's book author and illustrator Joshua "J.A." Galang donated $400 to Barbara's Friends, Lee Memorial Health System's children's cancer fund.
Galang has sold 350 copies of his self-published book entitled "Rocket Trip," the story of three children who journey throughout the solar system. He donated a share of his proceeds to the cancer fund on Friday morning and gave out some of his books to pediatric patients.
The seventh grade author also has been invited to speak to school children, at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival and the U.S. Space Rocket Center Space Camp graduation.
"It makes me feel so happy I'm helping the children in the hospital," said Galang.
Galang, who aspires to be an astronaut when he's older, said he didn't expect the books to be as popular as they are.
"I thought it would be something small, but it has snowballed," he said.
The book is currently available at Barnes and Noble, Miss Lucy's House of Holidays, Creative Baskets, the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, and the gift shops at both Health Park Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital.
On Oct. 24, Galang will read his book and hold a signing at the Barnes and Noble on U.S. 41 in Fort Myers. The event is hosted by the Ohio State University Alumni of Southwest Florida where funds will be raised to further benefit Barbara's Friends.
Officials from the local cancer fund were excited to receive the $400 check.
"We are ecstatic, we know how hard he has worked - he sold over 100 books over nine months and made several public appearances," said Frank Haskell, chairman emeritus of Barbara's Friends. "One of the things he is trying to encourage is for people to donate to a charity and for children to learn how to read."