“Cancer is a journey, but you walk the road alone. There are many places to stop along the way and get nourishment – you just have to be willing to take it.” ~ Emily Hollenberg, cancer survivor
Each person’s journey through cancer diagnosis and treatment is unique, but there are threads that tie their stories together. Today’s post is about a book that hopes to help share those common threads to support others going through treatment.
Chris Geiger was a healthy and athletic twenty-four year old man when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and told he only had three months to live. Over the next two years he endured operations, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant before he was finally in remission. After his treatment, he started writing light-hearted columns for local and national newspapers about cancer issues. He admits, “I am not a writer, I come from a computer software background,” but his writing has earned him awards including the 2011 “Columnist of the Year” award sponsored by EDF Energy and a Guinness World Record for the “Most Published Newspaper Article”.
Since his remission, Chris has met and spoken with many newly diagnosed cancer patients. During one of these conversations in 2009, Chris remembered back to his diagnosis and his desire to read stories of other “normal” cancer survivors for encouragement and guidance. He began his personal campaign to help patients and their families and “The Cancer Survivor Club” book was a result.
The book is filled with stories submitted from readers of Chris’s columns and a radio tour he did. The stories come from men and women of a variety of ages who have survived a variety of cancers. The main focus of the book is to help, encourage and inspire anyone touched by cancer. In addition it provides current sufferers with a distraction from the worries of daily treatment, by encouraging them to think about life once they have become a survivor themselves. Chris says, “I want to encourage cancer survivors to act almost like ambassadors, by using their experience to support and inspire other people who are currently receiving treatment; until they too become survivors.”
The book includes a letter named “Dear Tumour”, in which Chris writes “I now can’t do things by halves, can’t sit around doing nothing, can’t waste a moment of tis life I managed to save. You taught me how precious every day is and how fragile we all are.” He is taking that manta to heart by not only helping those with cancer, but also working to support cancer charities. Chris gives free talks to cancer groups and centers across the United Kingdom and donating the book profits as well. You can find a list of these events here. Chris hopes to publish this book bi-annually so he encourages those going through treatment to keep a journal and make a goal to submit their story.
One story was from Shelly Ostrouhoff. In “Cancer is a Word, not a Sentence”, she writes, “I never once thought anyone else could be going through what I was experiencing. It felt like I was the only one in the world with cancer.”
You can learn more about the Cancer Survivors Club and purchase the book at www.thecancersurvivorsclub.com. You can connect with the book on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow Chris Geiger on Twitter.
Related post: The Cancer Poetry Project