Honoring Her Late Husband's Memory, Miami Philanthropist and Author Lynda Gordon Releases "Coogie, the Dumpster Cat", Book Series
Surviving after the death of a spouse is nearly impossible. Miami philanthropist Lynda Gordon has found solace and purpose by starting her own company, the Gordon Alliance. Her first project is to write a children's book series that will loosely mirror the life and career of her late husband, Michael. She is donating her profits to charity.
Lynda's love of children, her story-telling abilities, and the COVID-19 shutdown inspired her to write a series of children's books telling her husband's story but through the eyes of Coogie, the Dumpster Cat.
"About two months after Michael died, a tiny black kitten found in a dumpster was brought to me. I took him to my veterinarian with the intention of finding him a "furever home." When I asked for an approximate birth date, the vet chose July 7th, not knowing Michael had died on that day." Perhaps it was purely a coincidence, but Lynda didn't think so, so she adopted him herself, and it helped her through her grief. She named him Coogie, after Michael's childhood imaginary friend that became his nickname in adulthood.
"For three years, I have been telling crazy Coogie stories to my family. Coogie and his fur-sister Casey were my only companions when Covid-19 struck, and we were all put on lockdown. I watched as the world, particularly charitable giving, struggled to stay afloat. I knew I needed to devise a unique strategy to raise money and awareness that would have longevity. As a result, "Coogie, the Dumpster Cat" series was born."
"Michael didn't believe in failure, doesn't exist, he often said - "you bounce off one wall, you change direction, but you win in the end because you cared enough to stay with the program." Lynda adds: "I want every child to know that they have the same opportunities to fulfill their dreams through hard work, perseverance, and dedication just as Michael did--because no matter how great his accomplishments, Michael was once just a little boy with an imaginary friend he named Coogie.
He is still saving lives
Dr. Michael S. Gordon was a well-known cardiologist and the founder and director of the Michael S. Gordon Center for Simulation and Innovation in Medical Education at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He is best known for developing "Harvey," the (first ever completed) Cardio-Pulmonary Patient Simulator.
A life-sized mannequin that realistically simulates nearly every cardiac disease by varying blood pressure, pulse, heart sounds, murmurs, and breathing at the touch of a button. First developed in 1968 before the technology boom, Harvey is now in his 9th generation. Medical students, nurses, and physicians, as well as our first responders, the White House medical staff, and the US Army medical detachment teams are trained on Harvey.
"Over his career, Michael Gordon demonstrated the ability not only to do things but to do the things that were most needed," said S. Barry Issenberg, M.D., Director of the Gordon Center. "Michael, as a medical leader, inspired others to dream bigger, do more, learn more, and become more." (gordoncenter.miami.edu)
Dr. Michael S. Gordon died in 2017 at the age of 80, after several decades as a leader and educator at the University of Miami.
Charity and compassion
Lynda quietly supported her husband in promoting his revolutionary inventions and improving the greater South Florida community through acts of charity and compassion for the past 30 years. But after Michael died, she took on a larger role, carrying on his legacy by assisting others through The Gordon Alliance.
"Michael was my everything. I was happy to be the woman behind the man," Gordon says, adding, "and I believe I played a role in a lot of the fundraising he had to do to get his projects off the ground."
The Gordon Alliance contributes to ongoing charitable efforts with the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade, FoMA (Friends of Miami Animals Foundation), and various departments at the University of Miami, including The Gordon Center. Education was important to both Michael and Lynda, and seeing to it that everyone who wanted to learn had the funds and tools to do so. They provided scholarships for medical students, supported the MusicReach program for underserved youth at the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, and through the Gordon Center they awarded scholarships for graduates of the Maurice L. Kemp EMS Cadet Program as well as generously donating to various theater and athletic programs.
"Neither of us came from wealthy families, and we both understood that Michael's success came with a responsibility to give back. I'm often told, "oh, but I don't have any money to give." Well, giving of your time, knowledge, and talents are more valuable than money to some charities, so everyone can indeed give to help others," Lynda says.
She describes herself as a hands-on volunteer for the organizations she believes in. In addition to raising funds, she enjoys interacting with the children and learning their stories. She serves on the board of the Friends of Miami Animals Foundation (FoMA), working to rescue homeless pets as well as assist fur-parents to keep their pets in hard times such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Even her nieces and nephews call her their "fairy godmother."
"We come with nothing and leave with nothing; all that matters is what we do in the time we are here." Lynda Gordon
The first book in the series, "Coogie, the Dumpster Cat," is now available in bookstores nationwide, on Amazon, and at lyndasgordon.com. Each book will highlight a worthy cause, and hopefully inspire both the readers and their parents to reach out in their local communities and help others less fortunate. In book two, Coogie will meet his fur-sister, Casey, a beautiful cat with a lame paw since birth, but she's definitely not handicapped, as Coogie will learn - albeit the hard way.
For more information on Michael and Lynda or to purchase "Coogie, the Dumpster Cat," visit thegordonalliance.com. The book is also available at Amazon.com and at bookstores nationwide.
The Gordon Alliance