Christopher Award Winner • Friends of American Writers Award Winner • Nautilus Award Winner • NAACP Image Award Finalist
After seeing a newspaper photo of two wrestlers from one of Cleveland’s tougher public high schools, ESPN producer Lisa Fenn followed a hunch and flew back to her hometown to meet the boys. Leroy Sutton, who lost his legs in a childhood train accident, could often be found riding on the back of Dartanyon Crockett, who was legally blind and had no permanent home. Initially drawn together by their handicaps, the boys had developed a brother-like bond and cheerful friendship, even in the face of innumerable hardships and poverty.
As Lisa filmed an ESPN feature on Leroy and Dartanyon’s extraordinary friendship, she grew to understand the suffering they had endured, and she fought for their trust. The three formed a surprising and profound connection—and once the taping stopped, Lisa knew she couldn’t just walk away. She resolved to give Leroy and Dartanyon the chance they deserved, and embarked on a journey that tested their individual resolve while strengthening the bonds between them.
Carry On is a powerful memoir about an unlikely family forged through barriers of race, class, and disability. It is a story of grit, love, hope, and faith—and the courage to persevere, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.
“Carry On is a surprising book, not only due to the tremendous hearts within these two young men, but because the failures and triumphs in their stories don’t align with typical narrative rhythms. They arise suddenly, jaggedly, too often shatteringly, as occurs in real life. And as in real life, the moments of understanding, of healing, of unbounded joy will astonish you with the scope of their power.” —Jeff Hobbs, author of the New York Times bestseller The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
“A poignant memoir by an ex-ESPN producer who befriended two disabled inner-city wrestlers as they struggled to rise..” —Sports Illustrated
“A profoundly moving memoir about two boys who become men in the face of life’s toughest challenges: disability, poverty, and torn families. We see the many ways in which one person can carry another, and we are inspired to do the same.” —Tim Howard, author of the New York Times bestseller The Keeper
“‘If you want something you never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.’ This is the philosophy of Carry On, an astonishingly beautiful tale about the love we never knew we could experience. And like The Blind Side or Same Kind of Different As Me, Lisa Fenn’s work forces us to reframe our definition of family. By the end, Leroy, Dartanyon, and Lisa had me asking the question that prods us to be better humans: What would you do for a friend?” —Kevin Salwen, author of The Power of Half
“Carry On is an incredible life-affirming story that would not be believed if it weren’t true” —Family Circle
“Great sports stories are never about sports. They are always about the trials and triumphs of the human spirit, regardless of the numbers on a scoreboard. No one knows that better than Lisa Fenn, whose heartfelt memoir of faith and the creation of an unlikely family grips you from the first page and pulls at your soul until the end. You need never have watched a second of wrestling, or any sport for that matter, to love this story, and to admire the woman who wrote it.” —Steve Eubanks, New York Times bestselling author of All American
“An engrossing tale that is equal parts despair, hope and triumph.” —Ohio Magazine