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Jeni Stepanek, Ph.D., Mom of Mattie Stepanek

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Rena Reese

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Today Jeni joins Rena in The Soul Salon as we mark the release of Messenger in Paperback (Dutton). Jeni Stepanek is the mother of Mattie Stepanek, the New York Times bestselling author, poet, peace-maker and humanitarian, who passed away in 2004 to Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy. His mom Jeni lost three other children to that same neuromuscular disease and has the adult-onset form herself. She holds a doctorate in early childhood special education and is an award-winning speaker. Her book Messenger is an inspiring and personal look into life with Mattie who embodied the best of human nature, touched millions, and worked tirelessly for peace. Oprah Winfrey has called him "an inspiration," Maya Angelou saw him as a kindred sprit and fellow poet, and Jimmy Carter described Mattie Stepanek as "the most remarkable person I have ever known." Six years after his death from a rare neuromuscular disease, Mattie is still being celebrated for his indomitable spirit and message of hope. In Messenger, Mattie's mother, Jeni Stepanek, recounts the years before Mattie got sick; how he handled the loss of his siblings from the same disease he had; his decision to spread the message of peace and hope; and how, when he became a celebrity, Jeni helped to keep him grounded, and remember to embrace being a kid. Including never-before- seen poems, journal entries, photos, and correspondence with famous friends, Messenger is an inspirational book about a life lived to the fullest. Visit MattieOnline.com for inspiration and smiles

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