Sixteen years after graduating from college, Capital Alumna Emily DeArdo accomplished a dream of publishing her first book, Living Memento Mori: My Journey Through the Stations of the Cross, which discusses her personal battle with cystic fibrosis.
At age 11, Emily DeArdo was diagnosed with what people call CF, or cystic fibrosis. CF is a genetic disease where the lungs and digestive system are affected. A thin lining of mucus protects the lungs, but in a CF patient the mucus is super thick and allows bacteria to build up. However, DeArdo did not let this illness slow her down.
She attended the university and graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and political science. Before she graduated, Emily was a copy editor and reporter of the Chimes her senior year. She thought about English or creative writing for graduate school and even took a couple of constitutional law classes in pursuit of law school.
Her plans changed when following her senior year in 2005, she received a double lung transplant at 23-years-old. This month marks her 15-year surgery anniversary. Following recovery, she started to work.
She worked at the Ohio State Senate for 10 years. Due to her health issues, she had to leave the Senate and take time from work in 2015. She decided that she could not have a full-time job while still maintaining her health. However, she picked up an old habit; she started to write.
She loved writing since she was a little girl. Emily enjoyed writing so much that she decided to write a book of her own. At first, she thought about writing fiction but later decided that she wanted to write a memoir about living life with a genetic disease connected to a devotion.
After leaving the Senate she started to draft her memoir. The first draft took about a month while editing off and on. Emily had a system for editing.
“I would write one draft and then just put it to the side, not touch it for months. Then I’d pick it back up with a fresh mind, write a new draft, and complete the cycle over again about two more times,” DeArdo said.
The summer of 2018, she met another author who helped her get her book published. She then started sending her book proposal to publishers. This part took the longest.
She would send it to one publisher at a time, then wait three months for a response, and then move on to the next publisher. In March of 2019, Ave Maria Press sent her contract.
“This is the moment that felt the most euphoric. Like it was actually happening. I didn’t have to look anymore,” DeArdo said.
She was assigned an editor, and she had until July 1, 2019 to draft a very solid copy of her book with their suggestions. She met her deadline at the end of May.
By Halloween, the book cover was created and pre-orders for her book opened up. Finally, her book Living Memento Mori: My Journey Through the Stations of the Cross was published this past Friday, Jan. 24.
Emily says that the university played a massive part in her success. During her time at college, she loved all her professors because they were able to relate to her and gave good feedback. She loved all the small classes, being able to discuss with her professors and peers.
“Everyone cared,” DeArdo said.
She missed a whole semester her sophomore year because of her health and the university was able to work with her. Paper writing did in fact help her strengthen her argument skills. Dr. Marilley, her political science professor, and Kelly Messinger, English department, were two professors who helped her immensely.
Her book is now available in many Catholic bookstores, the Target website, the Barnes and Nobles website, and Amazon.