Arts & Entertainment

Governor Livingston Alumna Donnie Kanter Winokur in Town for Book Signing of Memoir, 'Chancer - How One Good Boy Saved Another'

2509742ea7fff06701f9_23157258_10214401268608889_2554466344340544312_o.jpg
Author and Gov. Livingston Alumna Donnie Winokur in town for book signing of "Chancer - How One Good Boy Saved Another" at Delicious Heights on January 18 at 7 p.m.
23bdc725c1777a65d6ba_4381WHS_Chancer_2009email.jpg
0d0a384938307a3cce90_3_with_blue_chair.jpg
194ce82eed6e4f266fcb_Book_Cover.jpg
2509742ea7fff06701f9_23157258_10214401268608889_2554466344340544312_o.jpg

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Governor Livingston graduate and former Berkeley Heights resident, Donnie Kanter Winokur, is thrilled to be heading back to Berkeley Heights next week to see old friends and sign copies of her new book, “Chancer-How One Good Boy Saved Another,” a touching memoir that was published in 2017.

In her years at Governor Livingston, Winokur was deeply involved in the drama department and performed in many GL productions, including Oklahoma! and How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying,  “Most of my world was in theater, even previous to GL. It was also in Chorale and that was so much fun and meaningful on so many levels, I absolutely loved high school,” recalled Winokur.

She went on to study drama at Catholic University, but ultimately got her degree in Psychology from Emory University. Winokur believes her studies helped her guide her family through the long struggle of understanding their son, Iyal’s, diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).  FAS is the most severe form of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).  She focused on trying to understand his disorder, “It was really important to understand what was behind the behavior, the meltdowns and Iyal’s inability to grasp abstract things like time. Iyal lived in the present, because he wasn’t able to anticipate the future, nor remember what happened beforehand. So, in a lot of ways for Iyal, it was a new day, but it was the same day.”

Sign Up for E-News

It was during her anguish, struggling through a labyrinth of medications, therapies and interventions that she decided to try something truly innovative, she decided to take a chance on a therapy in the form of a ninety pound golden retriever named Chancer. Chancer became the first certified FASD assistance dog in the world and he furthermore became her son Iyal’s salvation. Chancer couldn’t cure her son’s illness, but he could help regulate behavior that Iyal could not regulate himself thereby helping him to navigate the world around him.

This is not the first book for Winokur, who graduated from Governor Livingston High School in 1974, but it is her first memoir. She wrote and co-wrote two award-winning children’s books (one with her daughter Morasha) before sitting down to write her poignant story. In her memoir, she describes her journey from adopting her two children from Russia, eventually facing a devastating diagnosis of FAS when her son Iyal was four years old, and ultimately to finding her way to becoming a champion for Iyal and for those who suffer from invisible developmental disabilities. 

“Chancer was written for a couple of reasons,” said Winokur, talking from her home in Roswell, Georgia, “Partly because people with invisible disabilities are often judged in a negative way because people can’t see what’s going on. Their behavior is different and it tends to make others uncomfortable.” Winokur quickly realized that Chancer was her son’s ticket to acceptance, “Chancer was a neon sign for us, strangers and friends could see we were on it, they had a visual cue that we got it, that we were dealing with the problem.” Chancer, a gorgeous golden, also brought Iyal into social circles simply by his presence beside him.

Talk to Winokur now and you won’t hear a hint of the world-weariness you might have expected. She is optimistic and focused on what’s next; for her kids and for her cause.  “I think it’s essential to remove the shame and the blame that’s associated with FAS.  The stigma is what prevents women from going to get prenatal care and for after they have the baby. There is so much negativity around it; they don’t want to get help,” she said. Because of Winokur, there is a new kind of help, ”Service dogs can help with the behavioral assistance, the unique training that Chancer had.” She is also thrilled with Iyal’s progress, “Now, he has become a really caring person.” Iyal creates videos on his phone and uses software on his computer to do editing, sound effects and voice-overs. “He’s now writing, directing and producing videos and uploading to his YouTube channel, it’s incredibly heartening that he could have a career in film and that’s where were headed with him,” said Winokur.  Winokur is headed towards helping to shift public misconceptions about FASD and other invisible disabilities.

At the books release, “Chancer- How One Good Boy Saved Another” was an Amazon number one bestseller in the special needs category. Winokur will be at Delicious Heights on January 18th at 7 p.m. to sign copies of her book. She will also be featured at Short Stories Bookshop and Community Hub in Madison on January 17th at 7 p.m.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

TAPinto Spotlight on Business Features New Providence Dentistry

July 17, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - TAPinto "Summer Spotlight on Business" features local businesses and their owners who are important to our communities. Follow this column to receive a fresh perspective on small business owners and their unique needs while shining a spotlight on their stories.

This edition features New Providence Dentistry, operated by Dr. Beth Herko and her staff of ...

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Beneficiary Forms - As Important as Your Will

As you plan for the future, don’t leave out one of the most overlooked must-do’s: naming the beneficiaries of your retirement assets. Updating your beneficiary forms ensures that the legacy you worked so hard to build will be distributed correctly. Don’t delay -- the designations on your beneficiary forms supersede those stated in your Will. 

Try answering the ...

Enjoy a Lifetime of Discovery in Union County Parks

July 18, 2018

July is National Parks and Recreation Month, and Union County residents are invited to celebrate this year by exploring “undiscovered” programs and activities found throughout the nearly 6,200 acres of the Union County parks system.

“Union County was one of the very first counties in the United States to establish its own county-based park system for nature conservation and ...

Union County Honored for History Projects

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that two national achievement recognitions for history projects have been presented to the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Union County is rich in history, and this Freeholder Board is committed to engaging the public with ...

Union County College Foundation’s 3rd “Close the Gap” Campaign Surpasses Goal

CRANFORD, NJ – With over 150 guests and volunteers in attendance, the Union County College Foundation surpassed their goal and raised nearly $55,000 at their 3rd Annual Close the Gap Campaign cocktail reception. Held on July 11, in the Richel Student Commons at the College’s Cranford campus, this campaign was developed by a small group of dedicated community volunteers to support the ...

ReNew Salon and Spa Welcomes Senior Stylist Joan Mormilo

GILLETTE, NJ - ReNew Salon and Spa welcomes Senior Stylist Joan Mormilo to their staff. Mormilo brings with her over 20 years of excellent customer service in the salon and spa industry.

She has extensive product knowledge, focuses on keeping up-to-date on industry standards and practices, believes in mentoring young stylists, and is a team player who strives to ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 18, 10:30 AM

Berkeley Heights Public Library, Berkeley Heights

Story Time & Craft with DIVA DELORES AND THE ...

Other

Carousel_image_b91f21bd7ac6c164e408_wednesday_matinees_at_trailside

Wed, July 18, 1:30 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center, MountainsidE

Trailside’s Annual Summer Wednesday Matinee ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_f315283ead6566b0f0d0_24b31797abd0cb2d199e_senior_bbq

Wed, July 18, 6:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Senior Summer BBQ at the Summit YMCA

Food & Drink

Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Four to Feature Brahms

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_180fb624cb767a3bedaf_best_crop_7313656ce0929485c104_bh_ribbon_cutting_8_2x

Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Memorial Park, Berkeley Heights

2018 Berkeley Heights Summer Concert Series

Arts & Entertainment

Special June Episode of 'Berkeley Heights Here & Now' Features 6th Annual Street Fair

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The Berkeley Heights Communications Committee (BHCC) today announced a special edition of Berkeley Heights Here & Now is available on the Township website, www.berkeleyheightstwpnj.gov.

 

The special episode features the 6th Annual Berkeley Heights Street Fair held on June 24 and includes onsite interviews with attending residents/visitors, event ...

And Over Here is the Dining Hall 2

My very first job in admissions was while I was still an undergraduate myself as a tour guide.  Very early on they indoctrinated us with some tricks of the trade.  It’s a dining hall, not a cafeteria.  A residence hall, not a dorm.  If you have to divulge some negative bit of information, sandwich it between two positives.  There were instructions for glossing over ...

Women Have Special Financial Needs That Advisors Overlook

Women have special financial needs that advisors overlook in two ways: 1) advisors don’t always acknowledge the different planning needs women have and 2) advisors don’t always communicate well with female clients – especially if the client comes to a meeting with her husband. It’s very common for a male advisor to spend much or most of the face time in meetings talking to ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...