OXFORD, Miss. – Michael Deauville grew up with two siblings, both with disabilities. As the youngest of the three, the University of Mississippi sophomore experienced both hardships and benefits, which he highlights in his new book “A Brother’s Love.”
His sister, Katie, was born with metachromatic leukodystrophy, a degenerative disease that affects muscle use. When she was 7, she walked in the hospital to receive a bone marrow transplant and left confined to a wheelchair.
His brother, Robert, was born with encephalocele, a birth defect that has caused learning disabilities and poor fine motor skills.
Naturally, these issues affected the family dynamic, which is what Deauville wanted to communicate with others in a broad sense. His book (Xulon Press, 2016) talks about embarrassment, jealousy and feeling as if no one else understands while also staying surrounded by a community of love.
“Growing up with disabled siblings was that barrier which impacted me the most in my life,” Deauville said. “With all the blessings which have become evident from it, growing up with disabled siblings has actually taught me more than anything else. It has taught me about perseverance, love, serving others and the importance of grasping onto any hope that exists.
“I can’t think of any other way that I would have learned some of the lessons I have, and doing so I wanted to share it with the world.”
The pre-med major from San Jose, California, wrote the book for families dealing with similar issues in hopes of helping others to understand the family dynamic.
“I hope to get it in the hands of every sibling like myself, who can then use it as a tool to help them understand and overcome some of their challenges,” Deauville said. “I have had siblings from all over the country talk to me about how my book has helped them, and I hope to continue giving speeches and presentations to share my story in hope of influencing others.
“I am working on a few more projects right now, including another book aimed at younger children, which I hope will enlarge the audiences of my story and help spread resources to children in need.”
In his hometown, Deauville was involved as a leader with Young Life Capernaum, a ministry organization that creates an encouraging environment for teenagers and young adults with disabilities through weekly club activities and summer camps.
Deauville, previously a business major who transferred to Ole Miss this fall from Santa Clara University, decided to switch to pre-med and focus on a medical specialty that will allow him to help children with disabilities.
“I am very interested in pediatric neurology and neurosurgery,” he said. “I believe that we are given lessons in life to teach us something about ourselves, and that it is then our gift back to the world to share our abilities in a positive manner. I can’t think of a more appropriate career for me than medicine, where I can go and help others.”
“A Borther’s Love” is available on Amazon, iBooks or through http://www.michaeljohndeauville.org/, and Deauville has several upcoming speaking engagements to discuss the book. He will sign copies of it Nov. 26 before the Ole Miss-Mississippi State football game at the Ole Miss Bookstore tent in the Grove.
Deauville is new to Ole Miss, but faculty and administrators are proud of him and other students who seek success.
“Michael’s passion and enthusiasm for learning is clearly driven by the experiences he describes in his book,” UM biology instructor Beckie Symula said. “He has transformed the barriers that he once felt about experiences into a positive goal.
“We are proud to have him in the biology department, as he stands out in our classrooms by actively engaging the topics and applying them to his own experiences. I look forward to seeing how Michael continues to grow in excel inside and outside the classrooms at the University of Mississippi.”