2014-04-09 / Community View

Gaining a better sense of the world Metamora celebrates National Astronomy Day

Author from Attica helps children accept the differences in people
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Marney Studaker-Cordner (left) and Kimberly Abraham teamed up to write the story of Daisy, a three-legged chinchilla. 
Provided photo Marney Studaker-Cordner (left) and Kimberly Abraham teamed up to write the story of Daisy, a three-legged chinchilla. Provided photo LAPEER — With diabetes on the rise, veterans coming home from war and horrific events like the Boston Marathon bombing a year ago, it’s becoming more and more common to see people with missing limbs, and a local woman is hoping to help children accept those differences as normal, and even special.

Marney Studaker-Cordner’s daughter, Faith, has two pet chinchillas, Daisy and Rosie. Nearly a year ago, Daisy got her leg caught in the cage and fell, breaking her limb so severely, it was thought she might not survive the traumatic injury. After her leg was amputated, however, Daisy made a remarkable recovery, inspiring Studaker-Cordner to write a book about the animal.

“It seemed to me a really excellent opportunity to teach children about limb differences,” said the 44-year-old Attica resident. “Kids connect with animals so much and often have more empathy for animals than other kids, unfortunately.”

Studaker-Cordner — who has worked as a child and family therapist for Community Mental Health in Lapeer, Genesee and St. Clair counties — and her co-author, Flushing resident Kimberly Abraham, who is in private practice in Grand Blanc, first teamed up to write a book to help parents of difficult or out-of-control children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Published in 2003, The Whipped Parent got attention nationwide, catching the eye of the Legacy Company, with which the women partnered to do self-help programs. Abraham has been interviewed on National Public Radio and HuffPost Live.

“We decided we really wanted to write a book for parents with something that really worked, to give them hope,” Studaker- Cordner said. “They’d do those traditional parenting techniques and they would come away feeling like a failure … we really wanted to empower parents.”

Because Abraham had parented an ODD child, Studaker- Cordner said, it seemed parents saw the advice as more valid, because she’d been through it.

On some level, watching Daisy recover after her accident gave Studaker-Cordner a new personal appreciation for what happens after someone loses a limb.

“She basically had to learn how to do everything with three legs instead of four,” she said.

Studaker-Cordner’s husband tweaked the cage to make it handicap-accessible so it was easier and safer for the animal to maneuver, and the critter made a remarkable recovery.

“We want them to understand not just that differences are acceptable, but our differences are what makes us unique and interesting,” she said. “(Daisy) is different on the outside but her spirit is the same on the inside. Actually, it brought out her strength and her spirit.”

Daisy: The True Story of an Amazing 3-Legged Chinchilla came out on Feb. 14, and Studaker-Cordner has visited a number of classrooms in Almont, Capac and Imlay City to read the book to students.

She will be at The Book Shelf in Lapeer from 1-3 p.m. Saturday to sign the book, and both books are available for purchase at The Book Shelf, which is at 359 W. Nepessing St.

The women have a website at therapiesinapod.com, where their books and other programs are available, and Daisy also has her own blog there so fans can see what she’s up to.

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