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Cancer Survivor Inspiring Others to Fight Cancer with Help From Art Student

By: Kristine Alarcon

Katie Brubaker, a student at the Moor College of Art & Design in Philadelphia, will be helping Peter Zucca, a 12-year-old cancer survivor from Harleysville, Pennsylvania illustrate his book.

Zucca wrote Peter Learns to Listen to help other children understand what hearing-impaired children experience. By helping Zucca with his story, Brubaker hopes to help publish his book as well as to start her own career in illustrating children’s books.

As a college sophomore majoring in illustration, Brubaker received the Sis Grenald Women’s Leadership Fellowship. She plans to use this fellowship, which is awarded to only three sophomores or juniors, to promote Zucca’s book with her whimsical art style. Brubaker also hopes that by illustrating this book she can get experience in working with children’s books.

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Zucca first thought about writing his book during a family vacation, where he was physically and emotionally recovering from a leg amputation. His mother, Dawn Zucca, believed that by sharing his story, Zucca would be able to reach out to other children who were also fighting cancer.

At 10 months, Zucca was diagnosed with cancer and was not expected to live many months past his first birthday. Even though he managed to survive his fight with cancer, he lost his leg to a tumor at the age of 10. The aftereffects of the disease left Zucca with hear aids and a prosthetic leg.

The book portrays Zucca as a superhero who teaches Andrew, a little boy, about hearing aids; to story itself was based off personal experience. In the story, Zucca taught his friend Andrew, who was going to receive hearing aids, all about the devices.

Over the summer, Brubaker and Dawn Zucca will work on the manuscript for Peter’s book and plans to complete it by Fall of 2015. A book signing and party are also planned to celebrate the book’s publishing.

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Kristine Alarcon graduated at the University of San Francisco with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. She is working towards certification in Sterile Processing and Distribution. She is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes Magazine.



Moore, Madison. “Art student helping young cancer survivor inspire others ‘in the fight’.” Philly Voice. Retrieved on June 26, 2015.

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