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Spinning a message of hope

October 09, 2004

Jacqui Brown

Travis Flores is a little small to tell a such a big tale about

spiders.

The spider, however, is not what scares him. Flores' real fear is

living with a life-threatening disease every day -- cystic fibrosis.

His passion for writing began at 5, so it was only a matter of

time before one of his works went public. When he was 8, the

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"Make-A-Wish" foundation helped him fulfill a dream to write and

publish a book.

Travis, now 13, said the intention of his book was to give hope to

other kids who are sick like him and to encourage them to never give

up.

"Now that the book is out, a lot of kids and adults are e-mailing

me on my website," Travis said. "They want me to know how much they

appreciate what I'm doing."

The character came from a spider running across his bed during one

of his hospital stays, according to Travis' mother.

"The book is a metaphor of Travis' life," Teresa Flores said. "He

hates spiders and he hates his medicine, so he put the two together

and created the book."

In the "The Spider Who Never Gave Up," Sparkey the Spider took 12

years to spin a web better than anyone else. As life often imitates

art, Travis began a new unapproved FDA medicine shortly after he

turned 12 -- and his health has improved dramatically, Teresa said.

"He's spinning his own perfect little web," Teresa said.

Matt Gallant, host of Animal Planet's "The Planet's Funniest

Animals" read Travis' book Friday to those gathered at the

Make-A-Wish pumpkin patch at the Media Center Mall.

Gallant has been involved in the foundation for almost five years

and has had the opportunity to grant a few wishes himself.

"The feeling I get inside just making those kids laugh fills me up

more than any job that I can do," Gallant said. "It takes time, but

you get so much out of it you can't really put words to it."

The Media City Center will donate all of the profits from the

pumpkin sales to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles,

according to Marketing Director Brian Gartland.

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