James Patterson recognizes local bookseller for overcoming health battle

A Spokane bookseller is getting recognized by one of the country’s most famous authors for her strength and courage.

Holly Doering, who works at Auntie’s Bookstore, got a Twitter shoutout from best-selling author, James Patterson. She was a winner of Patterson’s award program, 2018 Holiday Bookstore Bonus, given to booksellers who show perseverance in the face of hardship. Doering was nominated by her coworkers.

Doering was diagnosed with the flesh-eating disease, MRSA, last year. The infection had her hospitalized for 51 days, where she had to undergo surgery for her knee and eye, along with many hours of physical therapy. But it was her spirit that kept her going.

If you’ve ever been in Auntie’s Bookstore in downtown Spokane, you might know Holly. She’s worked there for about 15 years selling books.

Though, her new role is a bit more reserved than before. She used to be out on the sales floor and the cash register, now she works upstairs, a little less on her feet.

“The MRSA had gone all the way throughout my system and gone septic,” Doering said.

Doctors told Doering if she didn’t come in when she did, her infection could have become fatal. MRSA eventually spread to her eyes. While doctors were able to save her left eye, they couldn’t spare the right.

“On September 4th of 2018, my birthday – it had to be removed,” Doering said.

After two surgeries, her knee and her eye, it was her perspective that got her through.

“I couldn’t sit up. I couldn’t go to the bathroom by myself. You’re wearing hospital diapers. You just feel so helpless. But I realized early on, that the first thing, the only thing you can control is your attitude,” Doering said.

For 51 days in the hospital, she kept her spirits up with the help of her loved ones nearby.

“Oh, the people at Auntie’s were just great. They saved my life. My coworkers filled in for me. John saved my job for me. They visited me, they sent me flowers,” Doering said.

While she’s still dealing with the aftermath of her infection.

“Three fingers on this hand still don’t work as well as they did,” Doering said.

She’s able to come to work and do what she loves with the people she cares for.

“It was really like coming home. This bookstore has been part of my life for so many years now, and it’s such a big part of the community,” Doering said.

That’s why her co-workers nominated her for this award, and she also received a $750 cash prize. Doctors know she first contracted MRSA, on her foot, but don’t know how or where she got it. Doering said she’s adapting very well with her artificial eye and getting back to life before MRSA.

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