This question is going to seem like something you might be asked in primary school… What person inspires you the most? I think we all may have groaned when we were given that topic for our homework in the past but today I am going to add to this by asking have any of you been inspired by someone you don’t know since you were diagnosed with cancer?
Well, I have. I don’t know Emma Hannigan and she does not know me. We have never met or spoken to each other but we both have something in common. We have Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I tested negative but she tested positive for the BRCA gene. Unfortunately for her, despite taking proactive measures and undertaking prophylactic surgery, she was still diagnosed with cancer. It is well documented in the media and on her website on how she managed to keep a step ahead for at least ten times before her options ran out. She wrote a heartbreaking post on her website last week telling all her followers what all of us who have cancer dread to hear.
Oh, I forgot to mention in the midst of all her medical misery she is an international best selling author! It was because of her history of cancer that I was drawn towards her in the beginning. I was floundering trying to make sense of my own recurrence when I heard her speak on the radio and watched her tell her story on the television. She seemed so self-possessed and composed that I could not help but want to find out how she dealt with all the medical constraints that having an incurable diagnosis does and live a fairly high profile life.
I started reading her books and found them enjoyable and an easy distraction from reality. I have featured some of them on my #chemodayreads. (I have admittedly neglected that of late as I have found it hard to concentrate on reading since my mother died). She has just recently published another book, “Letters to my Daughter”, which is now available in the shops. A book store in Ireland called Dubray Books, is donating proceeds to Breast Cancer Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society in support of Emma.
If you are feeling flat or just having a yucky day, read some of her old posts as they will help galvanise you in some way, well they did for me anyway.
This lady inspired me during my darkest days without ever knowing it and I was so sad to hear that there is no more treatment available for her. I sincerely hope that she is pain-free, comfortable and surrounded by the love of her family and friends.