Want to Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month? We’ve Got a Book for That

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It’s not just an American observance. These Swazi women joined in “Brave the Breast,” a major event in Mbabane, Swaziland, to support the Swaziland Breast Cancer Network. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

National Breast Cancer Awareness month is coming up in October.

In Japan, Tokyo Tower is bathed in pink light throughout October.

Every year charities here in the U.S. and around the world use the month of October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cures. It is also a month to support those currently going through treatment and to remember those who have succumb to the disease. Many organizations use the month to educate people about the importance of early screening and early medical intervention.

Over the years, Read the Spirit Books and Front Edge Publishing have published a number of books that are useful for small group discussion—or that you could give as gifts to breast cancer survivors and their families.

Struck By Hope by Jeanine Patten-Coble. Jeanine was a high school history teacher and professional educational trainer for 15 years before being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Her own battle with breast cancer inspired the creation of Little Pink Houses of Hope—a nonprofit organization that provides breast cancer survivors and their families a free week-long retreat with other families on the breast cancer journey.

The day after a diagnosis of breast cancer, Jeanine was struck with a calling that turned her world upside down. In her book, Struck By Hope, she writes honestly about her instinct to run away from that calling—and the life changing purpose she finally found. In her book, she invites readers along on this journey toward becoming “ridiculously present.” She includes questions for personal reflection—so this book is a great choice for group discussion.

Everyday We Are Killing Cancer by Heather Jose. Today, Heather Jose is known nationwide as a cancer thriver. She is a public speaker and columnist for Breast Cancer Wellness magazine. She is thriving today despite a devastating diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer in her 20s. Heather is a leading advocate of facing cancer head on with family and friends, nutrition and exercise, prayer and meditation and the best of medical care. Heather travels widely as a speaker, an advocate on patient care and as the creator of Beyond Treatment Seminars.

As an occupational therapist, a caregiving professional herself, Heather knew she faced long odds with her diagnosis. Even as doctors warned her about the dangers, Heather brought together friends and family as caregivers, her own inner resources for physical and spiritual health and her medical team. At the same time, she began writing a series of letters to her young daughter Sydney, nicknamed “Sydney Bs,” so that the little girl would remember Mom even if Heather didn’t make it through her battle. A hand-lettered sign, “We are killing cancer every day,” traveled with Heather, her family and medical personnel throughout her long journey that ended in success. Today, Heather’s story of becoming a cancer thriver has moved men and women nationwide.

God Signs by Suzy Farbman. Suzy Farbman was a successful author who Oprah introduced to the world as an expert on the tough challenge of saving a marriage. But, behind the scenes, Suzy’s world was falling apart after an ominous diagnosis from her doctors. While it wasn’t breast cancer, it was cancer, which is why we are recommending it here.

Facing the same daunting journey that looms for millions of Americans each year, this tough journalist suddenly found herself scared. This athlete suddenly found herself weak. This big-hearted wife, mother and grandmother worried that she didn’t have much time left to enjoy the relationships that defined her life.

Fear. Weakness. Facing death. These are life’s deepest spiritual challenges, Suzy discovered. Searching for solutions, Suzy also found that America’s wealth of medical expertise is equaled by our wealth of spiritual resources. Like millions of Americans, Suzy searched for the best doctors—but she also called on her colorful circle of friends and tried everything from psychotherapy to contemplating angels, from ancient prayers to a hope in miracles. Her warm, suspenseful and often funny journey of mixed disciplines is far from a dead end!

Suzy realized that God reaches out to us through all of these resources—from doctors to spiritual teachers. As a veteran writer, Suzy quickly picked up her pen and now invites readers into her journey of survival and spiritual awakening. As it turned out, none of the awakenings that Suzy describes in this moving story turned out to be miracles. Instead, she argues that anyone can look for the same kinds of GodSigns that broke through into her world on a daily basis. Anyone can find hope with Suzy as their guide through one of life’s biggest challenges.

Other books about recovery and spiritual transformation lead readers to more blind alleys than bright doorways. Suzy specializes in finding the light in the most unlikely of places. The message in this warm, suspenseful and often funny memoir is universal: We can find hope if we open our eyes to Godsigns all around us.

A Guide for Caregivers by Benjamin Pratt In one out of three American households, someone is a caregiver: women and men who give of body, mind and soul to care for the well being of others. These millions need help—daily, practical help in reviving their spirits and avoiding burnout.

A Guide for Caregivers is drawn from the wisdom of many caregivers and we have taken their advice. The book is full of short, easy-to-read sections paced with wisdom and a practical eye for solutions that work. The book is designed to let readers jump in almost anywhere and explore at their own pace. This is another book that’s terrific for small-group discussion.

RESPONDING IN ALL CASES

Sadly, it is estimated that 41,400 deaths from breast cancer (40,920 women and 480 men) will occur this year. Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women in the United States, after lung cancer. However, since 1989, the number of women who have died of breast cancer has steadily decreased thanks to early detection and treatment improvements. survival rates for both black women and white women have increased, but are 10% lower for black women. (More information on this at Cancer.net)

Read the Spirit Books and Front Edge Publishing are proud to publish two books that assist patients, family members, friends and other loved ones as they cope with the devastating news of a fatality.

Never Long Enough by Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff and Dr. Michelle Y. Sider. Never Long Enough is the perfect gift for loved ones when your own words fail you. As this beautiful book moves from the darkness of illness or grief to vibrant colors of life, readers are invited to reflect on their own or a loved one’s life and legacy. An expert on hospice care and grief counseling and an expert on art therapy collaborated on this unique book to be enjoyed either with a person nearing the end of life or with family and friends grieving a recent loss.

Rabbi Krakoff is known for his work in grief counseling. He developed the text of this book while studying at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Michelle Sider is an artist and teacher whose work reflects her extensive studies in the fine arts as well as her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Detroit.

Guide for Grief by Rodger Murchison Everyone dies. Every family grieves. People are terrified of admitting that we are aging, let alone dying. Many families get stuck in unhealthy patterns of grief. In Guide for Grief, the Rev. Dr. Rodger Murchison brings years of pastoral experience and study, sharing recommendations from both scripture- the latest research into loss and bereavement. This guide’s perspective is Christian, but all families will benefit from these well tested principles. Each chapter ends with an inspiring prayer that readers can use in the journey we all will take through grief to wholeness.

About Susan Stitt

Susan Stitt is marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. Over the years, she has guided many authors through the challenging process of launching books and developing strategies that will grow readership. She also has worked widely with nonprofits. Now, she shares her expertise twice each month on our Front Edge Publishing website.