Sunday, October 4, 2009

Book Spotlight - Perseverance

September was Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and I received a book in the mail that deals with that isswue, that I want to spotlight here on the blog.  I meant to have this posted before the end of the month, but the end of the month snuck up on me too quickly.  Forgive me for that.  This isn't a full blown review, but just a post to make you aware of this book and some of my thoughts on it.

Author:  Carolyn Rubenstein
Review Copy Provided by:  Forge Books

About the Book:

Can you imagine being in high school or college and suddenly learning you have cancer?  You thought you had a lifetime ahead of you and the whole world at your feet, but suddenly you're told... maybe not.  How would you cope?

That's the question the twenty young people in this book had to answer when they were diagnosed with childhood cancer.  Perseverance tells of their trials and tribulations, of their triumphs, and of the unique challenges that day-to-day college life brings them.  Perseverance also provides an intimate look at the lives and journeys of these young people and how their courage and strength have affected the lives of others.

These honest, first-person accounts lend amazing depth to the inspiring stories of these young men and women.  Inside, you'll meet Zac York, who tells of climbing Mount Whitney—on crutches—after battling brain cancer.  You’ll meet Alex Oden, who—just days after brain surgery—gave his 8th grade peers a graduation speech called “A Day Well Spent,” in which he challenged them to make a difference in just one day.  You’ll meet Kristen Jones, who, while battling leukemia, was able to pass the MCAT and pursue her dream of becoming a pediatric oncologist.

Twenty unique and fascinating stories, with one common theme: perseverance. The stories of these heroes demonstrate how anyone can learn to live with energy and passion, regardless of the obstacles to be faced, and will remind us all that now is everything.

My Thoughts:  Working with children means that I have seen a lot of kids with a lot of illnesses, but I have only once, in 13 years, been in a school with a child that had cancer.  That was, until this year.  The little boy at my old school, had brain cancer and lost his battle after 2 years.  He was diagnose in kindergarten with a brain tumor, went into remission after chemotherapy, but then it came back and he lost his battle when he was in the 2nd grade.  I watched how he lived every day to the fullest and how his teachers and friends rallied around him.   This year, I have 2 children on my campus with different types of cancer.  One has leukemia and the other, neuroblastoma.  Both are going through chemo as we speak, but they don't let that get them down.  They are beautiful little kids who love school and have fun whatever they do.  One of them, you'd never know was sick except for her short hair and monthly clinic visits.  My thoughts; let them be kids as long as they can and do what kids do.  We don't treat them differently and the other kids don't know there's anything wrong with them.  That's the way it will be as long as we can allow it. 

This book tells stories of children just like those I mentioned.  They tell their stories, move you to tears, inspire and encourage you.  It's amazing how young people, faced with an extreme illness, manage to keep the faith, hope for the best, and persevere.  We can all learn from the youngsters in this book.  It's such an inspiration to read their stories.  We complain about the little things when they suffer and fight a big problem.  It really makes you think about what you complain about.  Is it really worth it?  Do you really have it that bad?  Not if you think about what these young people have gone through and continue to go through.  Read it and be moved.

On a related note,

Yesterday, I spent the morning walking in the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure, breast cancer walk.  This was my second year to do this, and I will walk for years to come, as long as I am able.  I love seeing all the people who come together for a great cause, as well as the many survivors who walk.  One of my good friends is a survivor, and I'm proud to walk in celebration of her.  It's just a great morning!  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I hope that you will take the time this month, to do something to support this cause.  As a woman, I hope that you are doing what you can to be aware of your body and protect yourself by doing monthly exams and getting a yearly mammogram if you're 40 or over.


Ben said...

Thanks so much for sharing Perseverance with us. This sounds like a book we all should read immediately!!

bermudaonion said...

It is so heartbreaking when kids have to go through things like chemo, but they seem to handle it with much more dignity than adults do. Keep us posted on your students.

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