Born one month premature, Eileen spent the first few weeks of her life in a hospital incubator in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. It was 1949 when keeping alive a baby weighing less than three pounds was as much a matter of luck as medical know-how. Eileen figures her luck came through a nickname given by her Grandfather. A farmer on the northern prairie, this granddad had an anaemic cow that started life as a calf sitting at death’s door. Despite her illness, the cow named ‘Ikey’ lived to a ripe old age. Grandpa thought the same good fortune would come to anybody sharing that same name. So Eileen faded into the background and Ikey stuck—although at some point along the way it got shortened to Ike. And, seven decades later, the good luck continues as well. Although it didn’t start out looking as if that would be the case.
Childhood arthritis and severe allergies meant lots of time in bed for young Ike. Silver linings circled this grey cloud though, as she spent many hours of her bed-ridden days travelling to imaginary places. In each adventure she saw herself healthy and strong. During adolescence she recorded her gallantry in stories and journals. Picturing her body differently seemed to make dreams come true.
Ike got well enough to enter University, and her schooling was paid for in large part by programs to aid people with severe diseases or medical conditions. After receiving an advanced degree in 1972, Ike wanted to give back for the assistance she received. At an early age she learned that true success in life is not measured by fame or fortune, but rather in the ability to overcome obstacles. Her primary goal became helping others who faced grave difficulties and needed support to achieve their own health and happiness.
Ike spent her early career setting up children and family service programs for tribal people in South Dakota, USA. Experiences on the reservation shaped the rest of her life. She spent the next thirty years travelling and writing about her cross-cultural immersion and lasting commitment to family and friends in native communities.
Now a mother of a daughter and son as well as grandmother to three grandchildren, Ike still travels approximately half of each year, writing magazine articles and lecturing around the world. In addition to her work and cherished time with family, she continues to keep personal journals, and loves to read, draw and paint. She also enjoys yoga and taking long walks in nature. Her greatest passion is discovering the mystical and enchanting aspects of our world.
Another Giant World is Ike’s second published novel and the first for a youthful audience.