After his mother and father died, 21-year-old Dave Eggers was left to raise his younger brother -- a situation that he turned into a best-selling memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
. The cutting-edge tome inspired Amy Slothower, a fundraiser for the Webb-Waring Institute for Cancer, Aging and Antioxidant Research, to invite Eggers to come read at a fall fundraising event for the Denver-based institution. But Eggers did more than just read: At the end of the evening, he pledged a $100,000 donation to Webb-Waring. And his contributions didn't end there. The Vintage paperback version of his book includes an appendix that offers an update on Eggers's life -- including his visit to Webb-Waring last fall. "I felt I'd wasted decades," he writes. "I wanted to drop everything to move to Denver and become their Igor, sleeping on a basement cot."