One woman’s remarkable courage in the face of great adversity is inspiring people across the UK to live well with cancer. The story of Jenny Roberts – told in a book written by her husband – has raised many thousands of pounds for cancer charities since its launch in March.
Make it Happen, reveals how Jenny’s positivity and determination to live life to the full enabled her to cope with a diagnosis of terminal cancer and to become one of the UK’s longest surviving kidney transplant patients.
A great opportunity has now arisen for Jenny’s story to inspire others to tell how they have lived with cancer. Work is about to start on producing a unique anthology of stories from people who have survived breast cancer – and from those supporting them – to raise awareness of and funds for Pink Ribbon.
We need your help, your stories, to make the anthology reality. We believe it will provide a valuable insight into how individuals live with breast cancer, the coping mechanisms they adopt, how illness can bring about positive change and how many have gone on to help so many others.
Here, Paul writes about
Make it Happen – and how the book helped him to cope with the greatest crisis in his life:
We were just a few days from the start of a holiday of a lifetime to celebrate my wife Jenny’s 50th birthday when our lives changed so dramatically – almost in an instant. We were about to go to New Zealand for six weeks when Jenny woke with a sharp pain in her chest.
She arranged to have a routine X-ray at our local hospital – thinking she had pulled a muscle. Within the next, roller-coaster 24 hours it emerged that Jenny had inoperable, incurable cancer. The holiday had to be cancelled – treatment couldn’t wait that long.
After the initial shock, feelings of complete hopelessness and overwhelming sadness at the diagnosis, Jenny made three decisions that would prove pivotal in helping her to face the immense health challenges ahead and to live as normally and happily as humanly possible.
* To not allow the cancer to take over or dominate her life
* To only tell close family and friends about her illness
* To continue her work as one of the UK’s leading dementia specialists
Jenny wanted to be judged on merit not by her cancer. She was involved in ground-breaking dementia work and had no intention of allowing cancer to stop her from doing that work and living life to the full.
She had adopted the same approach with huge success when diagnosed with kidney disease as a teenager and when she had a kidney transplant at 21. She defied all the odds – becoming one of the longest surviving kidney transplant patients in the UK.
The decisions she made about her cancer were absolutely right for her. She reached new highs in her career and frequently inspired many others facing life-threatening illnesses.
Most of all, Jenny achieved great quality of life in the face of adversity. Jenny and I cherished every moment we had together – spent extra time with family and friends and enjoyed a series of idyllic holidays.
Jenny achieved her ambition to live well with cancer, partly because of her incredibly positive attitude, her absolute belief that she could overcome any challenge confronting her, and with the help of targeted cancer treatment.
I shared virtually every moment of Jenny’s ‘dance’ with cancer. I was always in awe of how she faced up to her illness with a smile – and worked through pain without ever complaining.
She was the kindest, most loving, most inspirational person I have ever met. She achieved things many people told her were beyond her. Her courage and determination in the face of great adversity had to be seen to be believed.
Jenny had her last ‘dance’ with cancer in 2013. She died in hospital in Stirlingshire, aged just 51. A few hours after her passing, I sat in the hospital prayer room looking for some peace.
I accidentally switched on her mobile phone which had a three-word opening message – Make it Happen
, Jenny’s motto in life. I knew then in that moment of absolute devastation that I would write a book about her life with that title.
I worked on the book in the year after Jenny’s passing, very often on the most difficult of days and nights when all hope seemed lost. In many ways writing became my best friend after losing Jenny. It gave me purpose, a reason to go on – the chance to tell others about her remarkable life and to help those facing similar health challenges.
The book tells the true story behind Jenny’s epic journey through life, how it was shaped by finding true love and happiness – and how she excelled personally and professionally while living with cancer.
It is available from the publishers at [www.troubador.com]
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/21/2015 02:42PM by admin.