The inspiring true story of how one woman who "People "dubbed "the saint of Staten Island" is changing the world, one child at a time.
Fourteen years ago, Elissa Montanti was a lab technician in Staten Island. She had, in the span of only a few years, lost her beloved mother, grandmother, and high school sweetheart. Hoping to find a way past her own troubles and the depression and panic attacks that quietly crippled her, she decided to raise money for school supplies for the children of war-torn Bosnia. But at a meeting with the UN ambassador she learned that those children didn t need pencils. He showed her a photo of a boy who had lost both arms and one leg to a land mine; these children needed a lot more.
Elissa went to Bosnia, brought the boy and his mother back to Staten Island, and arranged for free prosthetics and medical care. The Global Medical Relief Fund was born.
Working from the walk-in closet in her home, Elissa has since brought more than 150 children injured in war zones Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere to the United States, where, with the help of the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia and a network of doctors, nurses, and community leaders, they receive free housing and ongoing care.
In "I ll Stand by You," Elissa tells the stories of these children and the soldiers, doctors, and ordinary Americans who have come to their aid; the resistance she has faced for helping non-Americans; and the heartwarming tale of how in helping these children, she healed herself.
About the Author
ELISSAMONTANTI is the founder of the Global Medical Relief Fund, a one-women organization dedicated to helping children injured in war zones. She lives in Staten Island, New York.
JENNIFERHAUPT is a journalist who has written for" "O, The Oprah Magazine""; "Psychology Today"; and "Ladies' Home Journal," among others."
"Elissa Montanti, with little money and no experience in humanitarian aid, has changed the fortunes of more than one hundred crippled children, one child at a time."
—Scott Pelley, 60 Minutes
“An intriguing journey begins with tragic loss in the seemingly safe suburbs of Staten Island, and stretches across the rugged terrain of lawless hinterlands of war torn Bosnia to find a new life of unexpected adventure and ultimate redemption. This very personal story proves that one person can make a powerful difference in the lives of thousands.”
—Deborah Rodriguez, author of the New York Times bestseller Kabul Beauty School
“The author’s spirits are as changed in this straightforward and sweet narrative as the lives of those she helped—and she finds hope, happiness, and love along her difficult but rewarding journey.”
“A moving testament to the will and single-mindedness of one woman determined to help those in need.”
"...this book shows us what can be done."