Wednesday, 08 July 2020 12:39

Day Job/Night Job: Living Kidney Donor/Author Educates Children and Parents with Howl the Owl

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Brenda Cortez, left, wrote a book with NASCAR driver Joey Gase, right,, “Howl Goes to the Races,“ and is an advocate for organ donation awareness. Brenda Cortez, left, wrote a book with NASCAR driver Joey Gase, right,, “Howl Goes to the Races,“ and is an advocate for organ donation awareness.


“I was looking for a slogan and came up with Help Others with Love (HOWL.) I realized that it spelled out HOWL and rhymed with owl. I was looking for a cute animal character for my children’s book series that kids could relate to and learn from," she said. "I have always adored owls, so of course it made sense that Howl the Owl® should be that character to teach kids about kindness, helping others and organ donation awareness.”


Cortez’s experiences have sparked her passion to make a difference in the lives of children through her children's literature, and educate them about what organ donation is and how it helps others.


Her book titles include "Howl Learns About Kidneys and Dialysis," "My Mom is Having Surgery---A Kidney Story," "Howl Helps Others" and "Howl Gets a Heart."


Today, Cortez loves visiting schools and other venues to share her special message.


“I make presentations about empowering topics that include organ donation facts and statistics, how to be kind, helping others, as well as reading and writing for young authors.”


Cortez continues to write books and now has a total of nine titles starring her celebrity owl. She also created a plush version of Howl the Owl and a mascot costume. She supports the organ donation community by donating partial proceeds from her books to Donate Life America.


Her newest book, "Howl Competes at the Transplant Games," focuses on a festival-style event produced by the Transplant Life Foundation. Events involving more than 3,000 living donor and transplant recipient athletes bi-annually include a 5K run, ballroom dancing, basketball, bowling, cornhole, cycling, pickleball, swimming, tennis, volleyball and track and field.


Howl the Owl books are often purchased by hospitals to give to organ donors, recipients, and their families.


Cortez does book signings and is adding to her series regularly, with each book taking six to nine months from conception to completion.


Her publisher is Nico 11 Publishing and Design in Mukwonago, WI, whose owner, Mike Nicloy, is coincidentally a kidney recipient from a living donor.

Howl the Owl is well-known within the world of living donors and transplant recipients, but Cortez has even bigger plans for her wise bird and his adventures.


“I just got a shipment of 500 plush Howls and more and more people are buying the books,” she said. “I want Howl to become a household name, like Winnie the Pooh, so that when people think about organ transplants, living donors and recipients they think of Howl.”

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