Laura Sobiech was born and raised in Minnesota. She has been married to her husband, Rob, for twenty-four years, and they are the proud parents of four awesome children: one married, one in college, one in heaven, and one in high school. Laura has spent the past couple of years crossing things off her I-Never-Want-To-Do List, now having done most everything that was on it, including: globe trekking, public speaking, fund-raising, Skype-ing on live television, and supporting a child with cancer. In her free time she volunteers as an EMT/firefighter at her local fire department and can knit a wicked awesome pair of socks.Download Word Doc
NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 6, 2014 – For the past two years, an arresting call for hope, faith, and a life well-lived sounded by Minnesota teenager Zach Sobiech has captured the attention of millions around the world. In the poignant new memoir FLY A LITTLE HIGHER: How God Answered One Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way (Thomas Nelson; May 6, 2014; $24.99; ISBN: 978-0-5291-0075-7), Zach’s mother Laura Sobiech recounts the familial, medical, and spiritual journey that began after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Instead of accepting defeat, Zach pursued his dreams with an unchecked passion that led to a no. 1 song, “Clouds;” a 22-minute Soul Pancake mini-documentary that has been viewed more than 12.3 million times and translated into 21 different languages; and a host of recognition, including being named one of CNN’s “Five Most Extraordinary People of 2013.”
FLY A LITTLE HIGHER takes readers deeper into one of the country’s most heart-stirring stories in recent memory, into the home and lives of the Sobiech family – Rob and Laura, and their children Alli, Sam, Zach, and Grace. With tremendous warmth, hard-earned wisdom, and candor, Laura celebrates, grieves, and offers inspiration not only to other parents facing the death of a child, but to everyone in all seasons of life determined to live joyfully and in the present.
When it became clear in May 2012 that Zach had months left to live, Laura suggested that he write letters to family and friends. He picked up his guitar and began to write songs instead, and one of them, “Clouds,” began to spread online with a speed that still shows no signs of slowing. The song’s official video has been viewed more than 10.1 million times to date, and the celebrity tribute to the tune and Zach featuring Jason Mraz, Bryan Cranston, Rachel Bilson, Passenger, Ed Helms, Rainn Wilson, Sarah Silverman, the Lumineers, and many more of Zach’s favorite artists and actors has captured more than 4 million eyes and ears.
The week of May 22, 2013, “Clouds” hit no. 1 on iTunes, and in June 2013, debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 at no. 26, and clinched the no. 1 slot on the Billboard Rock Digital Songs chart. It is the first song in music history to ever reach those benchmarks without any major label support or national radio airplay, relying solely instead on the backing of non-profit label Rock the Cause and digital media. Today, the conversation Zach started continues: he is mentioned on Twitter an average of once every hour. Months after his death, more than 5,000 people gathered at the Mall of America in his honor.
In FLY A LITTLE HIGHER, Laura writes, “God’s plan unfolded before our eyes. He was using a Midwestern boy with a simple song and a simple message to deliver hope to damaged souls across the globe. ‘Clouds’ was like a little capsule of God’s grace that had been prescribed to the world to sooth the broken hearted.”
Zach’s birthday was May 3, 1995, and he died on May 20, 2013, at the age of 18. FLY A LITTLE HIGHER’s purposeful May 6th release date serves as an anniversary of both beginnings and goodbyes, as well as a nod to Mother’s Day.
Pediatric cancer is the country’s number one killer of children. Each year, 91,000 families lose a child. The Sobiech family established the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund in order to fuel the fight against the deadly disease, which strikes approximately 400 children in the United States annually.
In addition to raising funds to further research, Laura’s reasons for writing are personal, driven by a desire to explore the true meaning of hope and to help people live for today instead of for a perennial tomorrow. The exercise of writing itself was therapeutic, and the glimpse into the ways in which she and the rest of Zach’s family and friends each continue to live and honor his memory is a testament both to them and to him.
Ultimately, FLY A LITTLE HIGHER is also true to its title – a window into an intimate prayer that was fulfilled in ways the prayer’s speaker could never have imagined: “Okay, Lord, you can have Zach,” Laura writes. “I want him, but you see a bigger picture. If Zach must die, please just let it be for something big. I want it to be for something big. Just one soul changed forever.”Download Full Press Release (.doc)