Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Together We Will Win by Karen A. McWhirt

As a child, I used to get junk mail all the time.  Having one of those ambidextrous names, you'd be amazed at the sort of mail I'd receive.  I've always remembered quite clearly receiving mail that requested of me to have my testicles checked for cancer.  At the time I was young and had no idea what either testicles or cancer were.  The only reason I even remember this small bit of memory is that the look on my mom's face when she saw it went pure white and that was a rare occasion. 

Until I read this book, that snippet of memory is all that I could tell you about testicular cancer.  That was the extent of my knowledge.  Sure, I've known people with cancer, but I couldn't tell you anything in depth about it.  As for testicular cancer, well I only know of a friend of a friend.  I can't say that I wasn't aware of it, but I certainly couldn't educate anyone.

'Together we will win' is the motto that was adopted by the author and her son during his battle with cancer.  Ian contracted the disease in his teen years and sadly didn't survive far into adulthood.  This book is his moving tale, told from Ian's perspective.  A friend saw me reading this and scoffed a bit, stating that it just looked entirely too depressing to read.  I admit that cancer isn't exactly a ride at the circus to read about, but I didn't find myself depressed and sad at all reading it.  It was rather more like an educational tour with a few jokes along the way.  Yes, it's terribly sad how much Ian suffered, but this book doesn't take us into that suffering for long.  Ian doesn't focus on the pain, but rather on the love surrounding him. 

Alright, I'm afraid I've gotten all rambly again.  I'm blaming it on the cold weather and the snow freezing my poor little brain!  In a nutshell, this book had me so engrossed that I felt as if I were an intimate friend of Ian's.  I feel privileged that this wonderful family allowed me to be part of such an immense part of their lives.  If you're looking for depressing and sad, this isn't it.  This book is of love, hope, inspiration and education.  Honestly I learned so much from this book.  I found myself just the other day spouting off random cancer facts that somehow just clawed their way into my brain while I was engrossed in the book. 

This book would be perfect for every young man out there to read.  Sadly, the world doesn't work that way.  None of them are going to pick up this book and read it just for the sake of reading.  The ones that do read this book will be the ones that suspect that they themselves have cancer or know someone else who does.   As a parent, I'm extremely glad that I've read it.  I have two sons and the valuable information inside may one day help alert me if one of them is showing symptoms.  In the meantime, I've enjoyed a touching story and I'm so thankful that both Ian and Karen have the strength to share Ian's story with the world.

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