New Beginnings: The Triumph of 120 Cancer Survivors captivated and surprisingly inspired me. It breathed new life into one of my core beliefs about Healthy Survivorship: People can set the stage for living as fully as possible by choosing to use their illness as a positive force in their life.
This book by photographer and survivor Bill Aron helps patients and their loved ones in ways that other resources don’t. The photographic portraits and succinct narratives are as varied as colors on a painter’s palette. Taken together, they paint an affecting picture of embracing life, whatever the obstacles, in whatever time is left.
One theme resonates throughout: embracing life begins with believing you can make your life the best it can be and then acting on that belief.
Unlike memoirs of celebrities with extraordinary talents, strengths and/or resources, New Beginnings gives voice to ordinary people. Some survivors instinctively look for—and seem to effortlessly find—the positive in their personal tragedy. Others hit rock bottom and have to accept professional help before they can see cancer as a new beginning.
Clearly there is no one “right” way for everyone to find happiness after cancer. But there are best ways for each of us.
Reading New Beginnings, you may find inspiration in a particular portrait and/or story. For me, after 25 years of reading and writing about survivorship, it’s the book's wisdom that will help me continue to forge and follow my best path today, tomorrow and every day.