It's Good to Know a

 Miracle: Dani's Story

one family's struggle with


Jay and Sue Shotel

To See a new interview on News Channel 8 in DC click on the screen below or go to:

See Dani, Jay, and Sue talk about the book in a television interview on

"Forward Motion" hosted by Karen Allen

Part 1click here

Part 2click here

Part 3click here

Listen to an interview with Jay and Sue on the Donna Seebo Show

     In August 2002 Dani Shotel was a healthy 26-year old young woman with an almost perfect life.  She had gratifying work, as a special needs teacher in an elementary school in Arlington County, Virginia, many friends, a loving family, and a boyfriend,  Scott Greene, whom she was soon to marry.  Then just one month later, on September 11 -- an appropriately infamous date--Dani was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). From that moment on, her world turned upside down and she and her family went on an unforgettable journey.  They returned with many valuable life-lessons, and want to share them with all cancer victims, their families, their loved ones, and professionals involved in the wellness process.



 In this inspirational and informative book, Dani's parents, Jay and Sue Shotel, vividly convey the strength and courage their daughter displayed in her battle with AML, as they tell the story of the events that led to her recovery.  Along the way they provide a wealth of information about leukemia, and tell engrossing stories about their family's journey to an unknown place, the roles each family member played to support Dani in her fight for life, the value of love and friendship, the anguish in the quest for answers, the power of positive thinking, the vital decisions a family must make as they proceed through the medical maze, and about the young German citizen, Tom--who donated the marrow that saved Dani's life and then flew in to Washington, D.C., to attend Dani and Scott's wedding in 2005! 


The vivid details in It's Good to Know a Miracle: Dani's Story, are made possible because Sue Shotel insisted that the family keep a log of everything that occurred during the period from September 11, 2002, until Dani's release from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and return to Washington, D.C. in May of 2003.  In telling their story, the authors hope that the level of detail provided in this book will assist families who face similar circumstances in dealing with the known, the unknown, and the decisions that need to be made along the way.


Sample Pages                 

Comments from the professional community about It's Good to Know a Miracle:

A deeply personal, remarkably detailed testimonial to  the power of positive energy and medical advocacy to bring about the miracle of a second chance at life through transplantation. Jay and Sue persuasively share the many perspectives that encompass the transplant journey….from that of caregiver, to patient to medical staff. Every reader will find many wonderful lessons and inspiration to take away from this tale. I commend the authors for their honesty and perseverance in the detail of the telling.

Lynne Coughlin Samson, Esq., Executive Director                                                                                   National Transplant Assistance Fund & Catastrophic Injury Program

Every time I work on the inpatient service it reminds me of the critically important role of the caregivers, loved ones and support system for each of our patients.  This is especially true during difficult times, when the connections provided by the caregivers and support system (whether through physical care, verbal encouragement or just being there in spirit) offer the patient their most tangible reasons for hope, strength and will to keep fighting.  It's more "powerful" than our strongest chemotherapy, antibiotics and stem cell graft effects.  The Shotel’s book is a poignant illustration of this critically important role. 

Michael Linenberger, MD, Medical Director, Apheresis and Cellular Therapy
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

It is always helpful for families to know that their journey through transplant, with its ups and downs, has been shared by others.  This book offers not only the patient’s insight but those of her parents/caregivers as well.  Families facing a transplant will draw inspiration from the Shotel’s experience.

Susan Stewart, Executive Director, Bone Marrow Transplant InfoNET

"This is an amazing story of a woman who stayed strong in the struggle to fight (and WIN!) for her life. Her dedication, passion and insights in coping with the emotional and physical pain during her journey no doubt played major roles in her ability to 'beat leukemia'. She is an inspiring figure and gives hope to all of us who ultimately will experience a life's greatest challenge."
F. Marc Stewart, M.D.
Medical Director, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Professor of Medicine, University of Washington

                           Some Early Praise for "It’s Good to Know a Miracle"

Selected as one of 10 Health Books in 2008 "You'll Actually Want to Read"

Laura Landro, Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2008 

This is a book that will touch your heart as well as take you on a grueling journey with a happy ending.

Anne Stinson, Book Critic, Easton Star Democrat - January 16, 2009

 I realized how much my kids are like your kids – and it could have easily been one of my three kids that faced leukemia—but I found the book to be an absolute page turner...

You may consider sending a case of kleenex with each book, it touches my heart so, I am glad I know the ending...

I read it in 2 days and all I can say is "amazing"!  Congratulations to all of you for the perfect first hand account of what it is like to battle leukemia.  I really didn't know what to expect but I couldn't put the book down.  There were quite a few times that a passage brought me to the verge of tears but I would put the book down and say to myself- it's ok- she gets through all of this...

I knew that I would not be able to get to the book until summer since during the school year I am schlepping my athelete daughter to her soccer games and/or practices when I am not at work or doing school work. By the time I get home, I am exhausted and all I want to do is sleep and try to catch up on some of my TV shows. Anyway, Friday night I decided to read through the preface- and didn't stop. I read until about 2:00 am. Sat. morning. Sat. night was the same scenario. This book has me competely engulfed. I can't say it is a fast read as I feel compelled to read every grey box and find the definition of every medical term I do not know in the appendix. But it is a wonderful uplifting book. (I can say uplifting because although I have not finished it yet I do know that Dani is alive and well and  still teaching those wonderful children). Not only do we learn about the battle against Leukemia but most importantly we learn about a wonderful family who battle this dreadful disease together...

I don't even know where to start--this is simply a great book and will be an amazing resource for others having to go through a transplant or really any long medical procedure as it emphasizes the importance of being a self-advocate, taking good notes, having a support network and most importantly, a positive attitude.  I was moved to tears during many portions of the book especially when i learned where the title came from... 
Thank you so much for including nutrition tips and emphasizing that nutrition is an essential part of recovery both in strength and spirit.  I am amazed sometimes when I meet people who have endured many rounds of chemo/radiation, weight loss, GI symptoms, etc and never met with a dietitian.  hopefully, this will inspire others to be proactive and seek nutrition consults or at least nutrition information if a dietitian isn't readily available...
  I am sure you know that your story will have an impact on many and may also help someone who may be facing a similar situation.  Your love as a family and support for one another is profound and makes one think about and question our own priorities in our life.   

What a powerful story! Just couldn’t let go. Am so happy and glad that all went as it did though it looked several times as if your wonderfully extraordinary daughter’s life could have ended “right then and there.” You are fine writers, and the testimonials are very touching. I hope I may get to meet your daughter some day...

What a wealth of information for others going through the same difficulties.  The honesty and the clarity with which information is stated;  makes the book very special.

I spent the whole weekend glued to the book... I was particularly interested in reading Dani’s writings, because it helped me to understand how to be a better friend to people that are going through tough times. I know that I have fallen into the trap of offering to help someone without providing a specific example, and I am still learning how to strike the balance between asking about how someone is doing and knowing when they just don’t want to talk about it any more... On a more concrete level, you have motivated me to get information about how to become a possible donor.

Dani...October 10, 2002


On her second day at home after her first round

of chemotherapy, Dani decides to confront the personal demon, Leukemia, by turning to her creative side. She takes out her paints and creates a self-portrait.  The portrait is of a post-chemotherapy Dani.  She portrays herself nude, hairless, sad, with tears flowing, yet with a determined expression.  We are stunned by the stark beauty, and simplicity of the painting and the poem.  This painting travels with us throughout Dani’s travails.  It is hung in her various hospital rooms throughout her treatments.  We create hundreds of thank you notes with the image of the painting, on the front.  People are amazed by her talent, and positive spirit.  

She teaches preschool children with special needs and yet Dani (Shotel) Greene had no idea what it was like to be different - until she had Cancer.

"I remember a particular day soon after my transplant.  I was on steroids and bald and swollen and everybody stared.  In those moments, I knew

what my kids felt like." This awareness has not simply informed Dani but has driven her to create bridges for her kids where there were gulfs.  She has developed integrated

programs for her children using kids from the general education population.  "To spend time together is to make the other human and real."

For more information about Dani's battle with leukemia click here

 Dani is currently a teacher of preschool students with disabilities in Arlington County Virginia outside of Washington, D.C.  She has a B.A. in American Studies with a minor in Art from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Special Education from George Washington University.  She is married and lives with her husband Scott in Springfield, VA. On February 7th Dani celebrated her seventh birthday post transplant!  Scott and Dani have recent adopted a little boy and are very excited that Samuel Henry Greene is now a member of their family. 

For the most recent up date go to: 


 Press: The Story Behind the Book

Author information:

Jay Shotel, EdD, is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Teacher Preparation and Special Education at George Washington University.  He began his 10th year in that role on July 1, 2007, which also marked his 35th year at GWU.  Dr. Shotel has three degrees from Temple University, including a BA in History and Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Special Education  more... .


Sue Shotel, after 30 years of service with Montgomery County Maryland Public Schools, retired as a secondary school administrator and teacher and currently works as a consultant for the school system.  She has her BA in Political Science from Temple University and a Masters of Arts in Education from George Washington University.

 For more information about the authors see our author page

You can contact the authors directly at


For more information contact the publisher:

Richard Altschuler & Associates, Inc.,

at 100 West 57th Street,

New York, NY 10019,

Or (212)397-7233

Ordering Information from Distributor:


University Press of New England
1 Court St
Lebanon, NH 03766
603-448-9429 (Fax) 



 Ordering Information -