Many have asked us about The Grumpy Cow book and why it was written. Here’s the story behind the book…
Rob Carley met Jean in secondary school. The two were high-school sweet hearts and right from the start of their relationship Jean loved kids. Any time a pram passed her by she’d stop to take a look and give a smile. It wasn’t long before Rob & Jean were married and started to have children of their own. They now have 5 amazing children.
But Jean and Rob had big hearts, hearts that couldn’t stand by knowing there were children out there who needed help. So, in 2009 the whole Carley family packed their bags and flew over to Uganda to work with Zest4Kidz, helping former child-soldiers and children with disabilities. They met kids living on the streets in towns, kids abandoned by their communities due to their disabilities, and kids who couldn’t afford basic medical care. They met these kids and they were able to help them.
The trip was life-changing.
In 2011 the family decided to go back to Uganda again. This time they met some of the children they’d helped. They saw the vision for the Zest4Kidz rehabilitation home and met the kids it would benefit. They worked at a school for deaf kids, educating them, playing with them and most importantly, loving them.
Rob, Jean the the kids brought their love to Uganda. When they returned home Rob & Jean would stay up late imagining how they could help these kids more. They committed to raising the funds to build the first Zest4Kidz rehabilitation home.
And then the unthinkable happened.
In early September 2011, Two weeks after their return from Uganda Jean went to work at St. Mark’s and left at 3.30pm to come home. She collapsed in her car having died of a catastrophic hemorrhage.
We will never fully recover from this loss.
But we will move forward.
Rob and his family decided to continue raising funds in support of the Zest4Kidz Rehabilitation Home (which has now been renamed, the Jean Carley Rehabilitation Home) to fulfill Jean’s passion for helping children in need.
At Jean’s funeral, Rob’s sister Karen McSweeney approached Rob and said she had an idea for a book about a grumpy cow and asked if she could write it in Jean’s honor with funds raised going in aid of the Jean Carley Rehabilitation Home. The book would tell the Christmas story from the perspective of a grumpy cow who keeps being awoken by visitors to his stable.
Amazingly, only a few months later the book was written and illustrated and as they went to the publishers, a foundation stepped forward to cover the cost of printing the book! This means that 100% of the €14 cost price goes to the Jean Carley Rehabilitation Centre.
At the book launch, over €8,000 was raised alone.
Zest4Kidz is deeply grateful to Karen & John and all who helped to make this book possible. We would also like to thank Rob and his kids.
Most of all we would like to thank Jean and her example of love which not even death can destroy.