Three words and your life changes.
“You have cancer”.
For 19 Border residents, those three words are where their stories, now enshrined in an inspirational book What Cancer Taught Me.
While the participants journeys might all have started with the same words the book, produced by Brave Hearts, reveals the vastly different experiences of cancer survivors.
Brave Hearts on the Murray co-founder Jenny Black said the idea to create the book came from the realisation so many people on the Border in the “traumatic diagnosis stage” of cancer wanted someone or something to give them inspiration and encouragement.
She said more than 1400 people in Albury-Wodonga would be diagnosed with cancer each year.
“We decided to have different people who have been through treatments for different cancers, people willing to share their stories, to let people know what gave them their positivity to get through the process,” she said.
“It’s been such a privilege and learning curve for us, we’ve been so inspired by the people we met and their stories are really life-enriching.”
Brave Hearts co-founder Suzy Watson, who photographed the participants, said they hoped the book helped those diagnosed see they are not alone.
“They’re all special people faced with a life-challenging event, a diagnosis, and they’re still able to turn it into a positive experience,” she said.
“More than that they’re willing to share with others their feelings and help them through a daunting experience.”
Mrs Black said the book showed how cancer affected everyone and how different people coped and found hope in everyday life.
“There’s different forms of inspiration that each provide lovely flavours,” she said.
“Some find their priorities change and one woman found the ordinary things that were quite normal became extraordinary.
“Sitting on a veranda having a drink with her husband or having a family dinner became really special.
“We were always in awe of them.”
The book is launching on March 28 at the Albury Entertainment Centre from 6.30pm.
Brave Hearts hope to provide the book to all residents diagnosed with cancer in the next five years for free, and thanked the community for its ongoing support.