Before his death in 1990, the 22-year old wrote and illustrated “The Jester has Lost His Jingle.”
“David was a remarkable young man and he had the power since he was a little boy to make people feel good about themselves that's really represented in the Jester. The Jester really is David's alter ego,” Saltzman said.
Since her son's death, Saltzman has traveled the country, sharing the the story of the Jester, who the king said had lost his jingle because laughter was gone.
In the book, the Jester and friend Pharley go on a search to find it, only to discover that it comes from within. When shared, it spreads easily.
To help spread the message, David's mom has challenged thousands of children in the last 15 years to read millions of pages in their spare time.
One such read-a-thon is in full swing at Del Rio Elementary school in Oceanside.
When it ends in April, students will have finished reading a half a million pages.
Not only does the program promise to boost reading scores among students but also boost spirits when times are tough.
“The message that laughter is inside all of us is important because we all have difficult days,” Saltzman said.
The more reading accomplished, the more copies of Jester books and dolls go to sick children in hospitals. In the program's first 10 years, 150,000 Jester books and dolls have been donated according to Saltzman.
The result: students feeling good, helping others as they help themselves, making a difference and bringing hope through laughter.
The books and dolls will be donated to Tri-Cities Medical Center - thanks to Morgan Stanley Foundation in this case --- but many children in many hospitals have received books, thanks to businesses, foundations and individual donations.
If you would like to help the Jester's mom reach her goal of putting the power of laughter in the hands of every child with cancer, go to the The Jester & Pharley Phund website.