Readers should visualize where I live: sleepy, rural Nova Scotia. Right now, the snow is falling on the pastures behind my house.
So to have The Cancer Olympics mentioned in the cosmopolitan and internationally famous Huffington Post is both exhilarating and somewhat amusing. How can a story from such a little place have such far-reaching audience?
Perhaps because cancer is everywhere. David Bowie’s death teaches us that cancer is no respecter of fame or status. Because cancer rightly inspires fear in all of us, a story of triumph over it in the face of it under bitter circumstances can be yearned for.
The article, entitled “6 Books to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions on Track,” lists The Cancer Olympics after others about dieting, landscaping, photography, finances, and marriage. The reviewer wrote: "Not interested with any of the resolutions above? That’s fine—perhaps you just need a healthy dose of inspiration. In a heart-wrenching memoir, Robin McGee recounts her personal trials and triumphs since receiving a late-stage colorectal cancer diagnosis. McGee not only battles cancer in her book, but wrestles with government policies as well—and when things seem particularly bleak, the author finds a rich network of support online. Tracing the course of McGee’s journey, some of her resolve will doubtlessly rub off on you—either to appreciate your own health or inspire compassion for others’ suffering."
Although I smile at the incongruity of it, I am so grateful that this story from a little place is having a big impact. It has won three literary awards, as well as recent recognition as in the 55 best self-published books of 2015 across all genres. This book meets a need in all of us – to know that cancer can be fought, that the systems that deprive us of hope can be fought, that medical wrongdoing can be punished.
As David Bowie wrote, “As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I've got left?” For me, I will keep on advocating for healthcare improvement for as long a time as I am given. I am glad that The Cancer Olympics is regarded as a story that inspires others toward their own answers.