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Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book


Ken Wachsberger, Writer, Editor, Researcher

“There’s a thin line between being strong, which is good, and being unfeeling, which is bad. And sometimes, timing is everything—that, and a healthy dose of spirituality.” So begins “Our Mantra,” Ken Wachsberger’s poignant yet empowering recollection of the Friday before Mother’s Day 2000, the day he discovered that his beloved wife Emily had breast cancer.

For millions of people worldwide, a cancer diagnosis can feel like a death sentence. It did at first for Ken and Emily, who spent that Mother’s Day weekend thinking about mortality and death. But they refused to settle into the loneliness and isolation that logically follow such feelings of despair. Instead of withdrawing from friends and family, they embraced their new experience and invited their loved ones to share their adventure, which continues today, nine years later.

“Our Mantra” and the 100 other stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book (Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and David Tabatsky, Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, March 2009) provide inspiration to help deal with every aspect of this terrible disease. From initial diagnosis to breaking the news to securing a medical team to chemotherapy and then recovery, the story collection in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book is the most extensive of its kind.

When cancer awareness advocate David Tabatsky set out to sort through thousands of cancer story submissions, he was struck by the outpouring of emotion, hope, and support he received. Everyone has a story to tell about cancer, each revealing a unique piece of the human spirit. As a result, the book serves as a hand-held cancer support group for anyone in cancer’s grip as well as for their friends and family. The story collection contains a cross-section of real-life experiences from medical professionals, patients, survivors, and their loved ones–those who overcame cancer, and those who did not.

In a unique approach, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book is actually two books in one. “What if we stopped viewing cancer as a war, as something to fight against,” said the late Elizabeth Bayer, whose memoir, It’s Just a Word: Reclaiming Your Life Through Cancer–Beautifully, is included in the back of the book. “What if a new perspective offered those with a cancer diagnosis the tools to design a gentle and beautiful journey, empowering them to reclaim their life along the way?”

The book includes stories from all ages, even as young as 11. Notable contributors include:

  • Sean Swarner, two-time cancer survivor and first survivor to summit Everest;
  • Matthew Zachary, survivor and founder of the under-40 cancer community, ImTooYoungforthis.org;
  • high-school student Emmarie Truman, recently recognized in Sports Illustrated as a star student athlete, prom queen, and brain cancer survivor;
  • National Geographic editor Mark Silver who chronicled his wife’s story and his role as a “breast cancer husband”;
  • Hester Hill Schnipper, two-time breast cancer survivor and nationally known oncology social worker;
  • and many more.

A portion of the book’s proceeds will benefit colorectal cancer research.

In Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book, readers will also read about:

  • How one man supported his wife through five bouts of breast cancer and later founded The Patient/Partner Project (www.thePPP.org);
  • A 30-year Harvard oncologist who calls prostate cancer patients “the unsung heroes of cancer” (like contributor Werner Hass, both a cancer and a Holocaust survivor);
  • How a then-39-year old executive from one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies welcomed a son just six months after a cancer diagnosis, and three years later, a daughter;
  • Barry Katz, who founded Lotsa Helping Hands, a free, volunteer coordination service, after losing his wife.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, publishes all the latest titles in the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Since 1993, books in the series have sold more than 112 million copies, with titles translated into more than 40 languages. In 2007, USA Today named Chicken Soup for the Soul one of the five most memorable and impactful books in the last quarter century. For more information visit www.chickensoup.com.

Price: $14.95ISBN: 978-1-935096-30-6

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