One of the hardest parts about getting a diagnosis of cancer is the isolation you feel. Sure, I knew there were many, many people who were going through (and still are) treatment for various cancers, many of which were much more serious than my own. Still, there are moments when I felt all alone.
When I received a copy of Perseverance: True Voices of Cancer Survivors by Carolyn Rubenstein, I quickly realized it was full of stories of young adults who also felt that isolation of a cancer diagnosis. Perseverance is a collection of essays told by twenty college age kids about how they survived childhood cancer. The essays were compiled by the author, who during her own teenage years founded Carolyn’s Compassionate Children a non-profit organization that provides emotional and financial resources to childhood cancer survivors.
These kids tell their personal stories of scary diseases, long treatments, painful biopsies, surgeries and even transplants. Like Jamie Saunders, who underwent a year and a half of chemotherapy treatments after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma as a high school freshman. Or Rob Dooley, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor the day before his twentieth birthday. These are harrowing stories of hardship some of us will never know and yet these kids have hope for the future.
Emily Corwin writes about starting treatment for cancer:
“I saw five-year-olds laughing and smiling who were so sick. If they could do it, I could do it.”
Or Henry Choi:
“I now appreciate every single bit of life, and I think of challenges as ways to make me stronger.”
In the end, Perseverance is a book full of touching stories, told in unique voices, and leaves us with the feeling of hope and more importantly, that we as cancer survivors are not alone.
Perseverance is on sale August 18, 2009.
Cross posted over at Mothers With Cancer.