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Gainesville mother pens second collegiate children's book titled "Roll Tide Roll!"

Emily Gaddy to give portion of proceeds to CURE Childhood Cancer in Eli Ligon's honor

POSTED: December 4, 2016 1:25 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Gainesville resident Emily Gaddy penned her second children's book titled "Roll Tide Roll." She dedicated the book to Eli Ligon and is donating a portion of the proceeds to the organization CURE Childhood Cancer. Eli was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma in March.

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Becoming a pack of elephants in a family friend’s book is something the Ligons will likely never forget.

The Gainesville family is featured in Emily Gaddy’s second collegiate children’s book released Monday called “Roll Tide Roll!”

Similar to her 2015 premiere book “Go Bulldogs!” her newest book follows a family — caricatured elephants based on the Ligon family of Carol Ann, Rusty, Eli and Emily — trekking through the University of Alabama campus and heading to a football game. Others making an appearance were the mascot Big Al, the Walk of Champions and the “Rammer Jammer” cheer after a win.

Gaddy said she leaned on the Ligons — Rusty is an Alabama alumnus — to learn the traditions for the Crimson Tide.

“For the Georgia one, I just knew,” she said. “But with the Alabama one, I had to get somebody to help me,” she said.

Gaddy said she met the Ligon family when her daughter, Clare, and Emily Ligon began cheering at the same gym. She also learned about the cancer battle Emily’s older brother, Eli, was fighting.

In March 2015, Eli was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The now 14-year-old boy is in a trial drug treatment.

“It’s working,” Carol Ann Ligon said. “So we’re really fortunate.”

Knowing what the family is facing, Gaddy decided to donate a portion of her second book’s proceeds to CURE Childhood Cancer in Eli’s honor.

Her generosity has had an effect on Eli and his family.

“I so appreciate Emily for honoring Eli in such a special way,” Eli’s grandmother Brenda Shumake said. “He is our hero. So anytime he is honored, we feel so blessed.”

Eli’s mother said she was excited about the book’s release this week, especially since Alabama is playing in the SEC Championship game Saturday.

But it is not Gaddy’s first time with a book release. Her entrance into authorship began three years ago when reading and rereading “Go, Dog. Go!” by P.D. Eastman to her children, Emmett and Clare. A University of Georgia alumna, Gaddy said the idea for her book came while cheering on the Bulldogs.

“Every time I would read the book, I would write something down that kind of went along with the story,” she said.

A year later, she sent the book into her publisher Mascot Books.

“Within three days, I had a contract with them to make the book,” Gaddy said.

The book follows around a family of bulldogs going through the UGA campus and preparing for a football game. Traditions include the mascot Uga, the ringing of the chapel bell and the Arch, where no one can walk under until graduation. Working with her illustrator Jason Buhagiar, Gaddy included her grandparents, children and husband Shane as caricatures along with other friends.

Gaddy said she constantly fields questions on what the next book will be, which may lead her outside of the SEC conference.

“I may do (Georgia) Tech. I may do Clemson — they’re on my short list,” she said.



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