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They said, “Too frail. Life expectancy uncertain.” But Bob Sampson persevered and changed history. This book reveals his life. Read more

Delavan, WI Nonfiction
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They said, “Too frail. Life expectancy uncertain.” But Bob Sampson persevered and changed history. This book reveals his life.

Delavan, WI Nonfiction
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About this project

What If the Glass Breaks? is a project to fund publication of the story of disability-rights activist Bob Sampson. The book is being co-written by professional author Douglas Niles and Bob's daughter Patricia Sampson-Harkness, a retired special-needs teacher. It will be available in both print and ebook formats.

Bob's Story

Bob was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at age five and confined to a wheelchair by age eight, but that wasn't enough to hold him back. Growing up in the Chicago area during the Depression, he studied and worked hard, eventually earning a scholarship to law school. Before he could start classes, however, his scholarship was revoked because, he was told, "You can't practice law from a wheelchair!" 

Once again Bob proved his doubters wrong, working a night job to pay for college. In this way he graduated from Loyola, then completed DePaul's three-year law course in two years, and passed the Illinois bar exam on his first attempt. 

Bob went on to work for the city of Chicago, becoming a major influence in Mayor Daley's administration during the '50s and '60s. He also advised five U.S. presidents--Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter--on disability issues. In addition, he served as a vice president of United Airlines, where he acted as an important advocate for the disabled. Even before the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Bob implemented many policies to ease travel challenges for the disabled.

This great man, who was told he would not likely survive beyond his teenage years, lived to be 81, married, fathered three children, enjoyed many years as a beloved grandfather and great-grandfather, and was a regular guest on his friend Jerry Lewis' legendary telethons. 

Bob inspired countless people during his life. It is our goal to keep his story alive to inspire countless more.

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  • Short answer: We'd really prefer you pledge via our Kickstarter project. But if you must pledge by check, make it payable to Popcorn Press.

    Longer answer: Because the purpose of Kickstarter is all or nothing--either a project is fully funded and pledges are charged, or the project is simply cancelled--any checks we receive will be held until we've reached our goal. At that point, we'll deposit the checks and use them to make a bulk pledge to Kickstarter. But if the project doesn't reach its target, we'll void the checks instead.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    $1 reward

    0 backers

    Our sincere appreciation (every dollar helps) and listing in the book credits and on the book's Web site.

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    $10 reward

    14 backers

    The above, plus an ebook version of the text and a personal letter of thanks.

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    $25 reward

    18 backers

    All the above, plus an autographed paperback copy of the book.

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    $100 reward

    10 backers Limited (70 left of 80)

    All of the above, plus an autographed limited-edition hardbound copy of the book.

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    $500 reward

    0 backers Limited (12 left of 12)

    All of the above, plus one copy of every book in the Popcorn Press catalog.

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    $1,000 reward

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    All of the above, plus free dinner at the book-release party at the Jury Room in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. (If you live within 100 miles, we'll even pick you up and drop you off.)

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    $5,000 reward

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    All of the above, plus one of our authors will fly to anywhere within the continental United States to autograph your copies of the book and take you to dinner.

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    $10,000 reward

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    All of the above, plus a dedication in the book and a hand-delivered, personalized commemorative plaque thanking you for your donation.

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Funding period

- (30 days)