Inspiration to Spare

Twenty-five years ago, two incredibly heinous acts occurred.

One captured the attention of the nation (O.J. Simpson) and left two people dead. The other captured the hearts of my family and left a formally healthy little girl with the inability to communicate with anything but her beautiful blue eyes and a smile that could light up even the darkest of rooms. Unfortunately, neither crime ever found justice for the victims. But the story of Amanda is one that will inspire, transform and show the world the value of every individual.”

If you are having a bad day, feel like you have nothing special to offer anyone or need inspiration to spare, then read Gwyn Thorn’s book: Love Blue – Amanda’s Story.

The story begins in the fall of 1994 when Amanda suffered unspeakable acts of violence at the tender age of 3½ leaving her without the ability to verbalize her needs and totally dependent on others. Led by faith, Gwyn’s daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Paul Withey, became Amanda’s foster parents and later officially adopted this young girl who owned their hearts the minute they met her. Love Blue is described by William C. Thurman, Esq., former Prosecuting Attorney Upshur County, West Virginia, as a “profoundly heartwarming saga of a young couple who stepped up ‘to do the right thing’ for the right reasons…”

Often when something devastating happens it’s easy to focus on what has been lost. Amanda didn’t dwell on what might have been but used what she had. Through the love and support of her new family and extended families, she didn’t just live, she thrived.

The story details the relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter. It highlights the effect Amanda had on everyone through her beautiful blue eyes – the window to her soul – and smile. As Gwyn writes, “It may seem strange, but from the first time I held Amanda in my arms, I had pretend conversations with her…I knew she couldn’t respond with words, but the expression on her face told me what she was thinking…her eyes and smile were her tools for communicating, and she used them to let us know she was fully aware and comprehended everything that was going on around her.”

It was during Amanda’s 16th birthday party, after hearing others express their gratitude for how she changed their lives, that the idea of the book took hold. As she watched her granddaughter’s eyes light up with every tribute, Gwyn promised herself “that no matter what it took, I would chronicle the years of this remarkable young woman and share the journey that was her life.”

Through perseverance, dedication and love, Gwyn kept her promise. International lecturer on the art of storytelling and author James Bonnet wrote, “Gwyn Thorn is among the best and most accomplished of the emerging new writers and story makers I’ve encountered. Her extraordinary memoir, Love Blue – Amanda’s Story, is a very compelling and deeply moving true story…and would make a very inspiring film.” Kirkus Reviews said: “A touching nonfiction work about an extraordinary girl that will make people rethink the limitations of disabled people…An account by a gifted author that contrasts the best and worst of humanity and shows the sublime power of a simple smile.”

If you would like to schedule Gwyn Thorn for an event, she can be reached at: 713-446-8423 or Love Blue – Amanda’s Story can be purchased through

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