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The Cancer Survivors Club

The Cancer Survivors Club

“Cancer is a journey, but you walk the road alone. There are many places to stop along the way and get nourishment – you just have to be willing to take it.”  ~ Emily Hollenberg, cancer survivor

Each person’s journey through cancer diagnosis and treatment is unique, but there are threads that tie their stories together.  Today’s post is about a book that hopes to help share those common threads to support others going through treatment.

Chris Geiger was a healthy and athletic twenty-four year old man when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and told he only had three months to live.  Over the next two years he endured operations, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant before he was finally in remission.  After his treatment, he started writing light-hearted columns for local and national newspapers about cancer issues.  He admits, “I am not a writer, I come from a computer software background,” but his writing has earned him awards including the 2011 “Columnist of the Year” award sponsored by EDF Energy and a Guinness World Record for the “Most Published Newspaper Article”.

Since his remission, Chris has met and spoken with many newly diagnosed cancer patients.  During one of these conversations in 2009, Chris remembered back to his diagnosis and his desire to read stories of other “normal” cancer survivors for encouragement and guidance.  He began his personal campaign to help patients and their families and “The Cancer Survivor Club” book was a result.

The book is filled with stories submitted from readers of Chris’s columns and a radio tour he did.  The stories come from men and women of a variety of ages who have survived a variety of cancers.  The main focus of the book is to help, encourage and inspire anyone touched by cancer.  In addition it provides current sufferers with a distraction from the worries of daily treatment, by encouraging them to think about life once they have become a survivor themselves.  Chris says, “I want to encourage cancer survivors to act almost like ambassadors, by using their experience to support and inspire other people who are currently receiving treatment; until they too become survivors.”

The book includes a letter named “Dear Tumour”, in which Chris writes “I now can’t do things by halves, can’t sit around doing nothing, can’t waste a moment of tis life I managed to save. You taught me how precious every day is and how fragile we all are.”  He is taking that manta to heart by not only helping those with cancer, but also working to support cancer charities.  Chris gives free talks to cancer groups and centers across the United Kingdom and donating the book profits as well.  You can find a list of these events here.  Chris hopes to publish this book bi-annually so he encourages those going through treatment to keep a journal and make a goal to submit their story.

One story was from Shelly Ostrouhoff.  In “Cancer is a Word, not a Sentence”, she writes, “I never once thought anyone else could be going through what I was experiencing.  It felt like I was the only one in the world with cancer.”

You can learn more about the Cancer Survivors Club and purchase the book at www.thecancersurvivorsclub.com.  You can connect with the book on Facebook and Twitter.  You can also follow Chris Geiger on Twitter.

Related post: The Cancer Poetry Project

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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Other

 

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Help Harry Help Others

Kids Are Heroes is an organization that highlights kids who have done great volunteer work.  In the past we have profiled kids that were featured on the Kids Are Heroes site.  Harry Moseley is one such hero who left a legacy.

Harry’s story began in 2007 when he had problems with his eyes.  After many visits to the optician and the local hospital, the doctors gave him an MRI scan and discovered a brain tumor.  The tumor was in a dangerous place, deep in his brain, so it was inoperable.  Harry began chemotherapy treatments but unfortunately it didn’t work and his tumor grew.  His only other option was radiotherapy.  It was during these treatments that he met Robert Harley who was also having radiotherapy for a brain tumor. They had their treatment on the same day, every day for six weeks so they became very good friends.  In 2009 Robert became very ill so Harry decided to make and sell beaded bracelets to raise money for brain cancer research to help make him better.  Sadly four weeks into his campaign, his friend Robert died at only 55 years old.  Harry wanted to continue selling bracelets in Robert’s memory and to help make sure that no one else would have to go through what they did.

Harry continued regular checkups to monitor the size of his tumor.  It remained stable for two years but unfortunately, his health took a turn for the worse in July 2011 when he developed a blood clot on his brain.  He had an emergency operation on August 10th and remained in a coma for over eight weeks.  On October 7th, doctors advised Harry’s family to bring him home to rest.  Harry passed away peacefully in his mother’s arms on October 8th.  Harry’s campaign, however, continues to live on in his memory.

The mission of Help Harry Help Others is to raise as much money as possible to help fund brain cancer research and to raise awareness.  At the heart of this mission are Harry’s beautiful bracelets which act as a symbol for Harry, his campaign and what it seeks to achieve.  It was Harry’s dream that everyone in the United Kingdom would be wearing one of his bracelets.

In April 2011, Help Harry Help Others partnered with Cancer Research UK. As a result, the campaign now largely functions out of their head offices in Angel, London.

How can you help?

Help Harry Help Others welcomes all the support they are offered.  Volunteers have been key to helping raise money for the campaign.  They have opportunities locally for individuals or groups to fundraise for the campaign.  These fundraisers aren’t just limited to bracelet sales, previous groups have done bake sales, live music events, runs, and even jumping out of an airplane.  They also have a team of volunteers who help with bracelet production.

For those who live further away, you can still run a fundraiser and make your donation online or via the mail.  The organization’s website has a fundraiser pack available for download.  Anyone can also purchase bracelets online.

Harry’s organization has sold over 40,000 bracelets and raised over £185,000 (or about $280,000) for brain tumor research.  You can learn more about Help Harry Help Others on their website, helpharryhelpothers.com.  You can also connect with them on Facebook or Twitter.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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