Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Chemo stories

Three years ago writer Ali S was due a mammogram. "I almost didn't go," she says. "At the time, I thought I really haven't got time for this."

Alison Stodolnic, survivor of breast cancer
Ali: 'Talking and sharing makes people feel better'
Fortunately a friend talked her into going. It turned out she had a tumour in her breast and a potentially aggressive form of cancer. Six treatments of chemotherapy followed, three weeks apart, in the autumn of 2014. 

"I was unlucky to be diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 46 and unlucky that I had to go through the gruelling process of chemotherapy," she says. "I was lucky that my cancer was discovered very early, I had access to the medical treatment I needed, and I had love and support coming at me from all corners of my world."

Her oncologist has since given her the all-clear, but now Ali would like to record her experiences in a new book, which would be given out for free in hospitals, libraries and cancer care units.

The book, called Chemo Stories, will be a collection of real-life stories, based on her own experiences and on interviews with other people. The aim is to provide information and reassurance for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

"I want to talk to people through this book as you would talk to a friend," says Ali. "You're honest, you offer reassurance, but you don't sugar-coat it."

When she was having her own treatment, several people got in touch via social media and offered her their support. "It really meant a lot to me," she recalls. "That connection with other people makes you feel better and that you are not going through this alone."

To get her project off the ground, Ali has launched a campaign on a crowd-funding site. For every £10 raised from a community of supporters, Ali has pledged to give away one free copy of her book. Her fundraising campaign finishes on Friday 16 June, so if you would like to donate, please click here to reach her site. So far, she has raised nearly £4000, which amounts to 400 free copies.

"Writing this book is going to churn up some up some thoughts and feelings," she says. "I couldn't have done it two years ago - I wasn't in a good enough place in my head... It's going to be a challenge, but I'm excited about it."


Snippets of Ali's Chemo Stories can be found on her crowd-funding site. If you miss the deadline to donate but would like to offer a contribution, please email her on ali@elevenzeez.com.