Healing Words was founded in August 2006 by Valerie Gribben, a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). In Gribben’s sophomore year of college, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. To distract her mother while she was undergoing chemotherapy, Gribben read aloud from the latest chapters of Gribben’s third novel, the final part of The Fairytale Trilogy (Junebug/NewSouth Books). Gribben explains, “As I finished reading the chapter, my mother whispered, ‘What happens next?’ For the first time in months, my mother’s eyes were alight with some of their former spark.”
Healing Words volunteers read at UAB Hospital, Children’s Harbor, the Balm of Gilead at Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, Oak Knoll Health and Rehabilitation, Greenbriar at the Altamont, and Children’s Hospital.
The Literacy Council, a non-profit organization based in Birmingham, donates new books to stock the hospitals’ libraries. Steve Hannum of The Literacy Council directs the Healing Words orientations. For more information on the organizations responsible for the success of Healing Words, please visit the Sponsors page.