‘Living Life with Leo:’ Genesee mom's book honors late son

Diane Nienas' son, Leo, died from a rare genetic disorder three years ago. Her book, "Living Life with Leo," has helped her channel her grief, and it was a No. 1 new release on Amazon the day it came out.

"Living Life with Leo" is a children's book in memory of her son. Nienas wants everyone with a disability to know they can do anything.

"Shortly after he turned 2, his body started to fail," said Nienas. 

Leo was diagnosed with leukodystrophy, a condition that affects white matter in the brain. Nienas kept people updated through email. Despite the diagnosis, Leo proved there was nothing he couldn't achieve.

"He fought through this pain, and he made, literally, the impossible things possible," said Nienas.

The 17-year-old saw no obstacles. Inspired by her son, Nienas sat down to write in a way she knew Leo would like.

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"I was capturing all of these little moments that we did with Leo in the way of rhyming, which happened to be Leo's favorite kind of books," said Nienas.

For Leo, his mom came up with a book of rhymes, highlighting their best of times.

"It was extremely healing to write the stories and adventures we were having with Leo," said Nienas. 

"Living Life with Leo" shows that despite physical challenges and life in a wheelchair, Leo lived life to the fullest, relying on family and prayer.

"Building with his LEGOs, yellow, red and green, stacking them together, the tallest tower seen," said Nienas, reading from her book. 

Through the book, Nienas hopes to share a message of inclusion and hope, spreading awareness that anyone can enjoy life, no matter how you look.

"It’s not just about special needs," said Nienas. "It’s that when we look at the person next to us – they’re special."

Leo died at the age of 17. While he's no longer physically here, Nienas said she feels his spirit.

"I can literally feel him smiling from ear to ear," said Nienas.

Learn much more at BreathofLife.com.