Inspirational Short Stories From Well-Known Cancer Survivors

CUREFall 2016
Volume 15
Issue 4

"25 Women Who Survived Cancer" compiles the experiences of some well-known cancer survivors, including newscasters Robin Roberts and Joan Lunden, actresses Patti LuPone and Fran Drescher.

What do a group of creative, accomplished women have to say about their experiences with cancer? Does being an author, an illustrator, a TV star, an athlete, a fashion designer or a top business executive create a unique perspective on what, for many who encounter it, turns out to be life’s greatest struggle?

Look for the differences and commonalities in the essays that comprise “25 Women Who Survived Cancer.” These stories of hope are penned by survivors including newscasters Robin Roberts and Joan Lunden, actresses Patti LuPone and Fran Drescher, authors Alice Hoffman and Barbara Delinsky, and many others.

Heartfelt and simply written, the essays are each just a few pages long and don’t need to be digested in any particular order — convenient for readers who are sitting in chemotherapy infusion chairs or are just too distracted by their illness and treatments to focus on complex material. The pieces offer a nice mix of advice, personal anecdotes, humor and insights into how to thrive and find inspiration through a lifechanging illness.

“Each personal essay in the book strikes a memorable chord,” writes Mark Evan Chimsky, the book’s editor, in an introduction. “Among them are: Barbara Musser at a clothing-optional ‘Love, Intimacy and Sexuality’ workshop after healing from cancer surgery, standing naked and vulnerable in front of everyone in attendance, and feeling the waves of love and acceptance; Caryn Hartglass seeing the cosmic connection between a famous painting and her own cancer experience; (and) Marissa Jaret Winokur writing of how she wouldn’t let her radical hysterectomy stand in the way of her dream of becoming a mom.”

In her essay, Hoffman relates a fulfilling outcome of her cancer experience: her choice to become a fundraiser for breast cancer research.

“When you help others, your troubles aren’t as heavy,” she writes. “In fact, you can hold them like a handkerchief and place them in your pocket. They’re still there, but they’re not the only thing you carry.”