This book, Project Hope, was lent to me by a friend & her teenage son Julian, who spent last year fighting cancer (and from what I hear doing so like a hard-boiled street fighter.)
Each page profiles a different survivor of childhood cancer. Some were just babies when they were diagnosed, and others were on the cusp of young adulthood. They talk about spinal taps and losing their hair and missing out on school and just wanting to be a normal kid again. If they’re still too young to write, their parents have contributed something on their behalf: stories of hearing the terrifying diagnoses, of trying to keep a brave face as they watch their children being wheeled down corridors and into surgery, of whole families spending holidays and birthdays at a brave little person’s bedside in hospital…
OK, so not exactly light reading. But neither is it the complete heart-breaker you might imagine it to be. Yes, you’ll encounter a child with no hair, wearing a hospital gown — but then you’ll read about how much he liked racing around the ward on an IV tree.
I read a page or two almost every night & it has the effect of smacking my perspective back into place and making sure I don’t go feeling too sorry for myself. As a parent, it reminds me to be thankful that my child is healthy and strong. And as a person with cacner, it chases the boogeyman from the dark corners and makes me say: if they can do it, so can I. Brave little buggers.