Cancer! Just the word itself strikes fear into even the most resilient. It is the fear of everything we know about cancer, and yet it is even more about the fear of the unknown, and the fear of an uncertain journey into a future that only yesterday was full of hope and adventure.
This book charts that journey in a way that offers each of us renewed hope in the human spirit. Ramzi Mansour’s portraits are strong and beautiful, capturing as they do the individual character and spirit of each one of these extraordinary women who has stared into the unknown and then made that journey back to the light with their dignity intact, and a determination that life itself should take on a new and different meaning.
Nicole Mansour has curated every story. Each one is different, and every story fits a different facet of us all. These brave women take us through their stories, on a journey from the seismic shock of that first diagnosis, to the unreal sound of cancer in a context relating to oneself. It is a journey through the real and cold realisation that mortality beckons from some far, dark corner: A corner where fear, anger and denial lurk. But for many of them, light has arrived.
On diagnosis, patients often tell me that they feel as though they are in a ‘parallel world’ – a world where the cancer patient lives somewhere on the outside of normality, separated by a pane of glass, through which they can see, but cannot break through. These portraits and words provide us with a glimpse through that window into their lives; through that pane of glass – and we feel their pain, their fear and their loneliness, despite the clamour of relatives and friends.
But resilience in all its manifest glory is here, too. These beautiful, strong, human portraits truly bear testament to the bravery, acceptance and hope of these women, who have broken through that pane of glass and rejoined the world.
Those who have been on this journey help us all to be strong. We should, and will be, inspired by these stories of the strength of the human spirit.
As an oncologist for some 45 years, I see in this book a journey I have been on with thousands of patients, each one in some way an amalgam of all expressed here, but each different and unique. I applaud these women for having the strength to lay bare their souls to help others who may make the same journey into the unknown.
This is a very beautiful and poignant book that should be read by all: Patients, families and medical professionals. It is a book about the triumph of the human spirit – it is the triumph of resilience.
Resilience is a tribute to the passion and love of Ramzi and Nicole Mansour, and I assure them that it will make a difference to a great many lives, as it has done to mine.
Dr. Peter Harper
Lead Consultant: Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ Hospital
Founder: Leaders in Oncology Care, United Kingdom
Co-founder: One Welbeck Health Partners, London
Who is Dr. Peter Harper?
Based at Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s teaching hospital for over 30 years, Dr Harper is a globally recognised Medical Oncologist, much sought after for his deep insight into the disease, and with over 400 medical research papers published.
In 2005, he founded Leaders in Oncology Care, the largest private oncology clinic in the UK, where the best treatment regimes are supplemented with his visionary and internationally acclaimed Living Well Programme, which gives a holistic approach to total patient care, integrating patients and families back into normal life post the trauma of cancer.
Dr. Harper is the holder of many prestigious awards for his work, and was honoured to have been awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest national honour, by President Jacques Chirac, for his services to French National Cancer Strategy, and Cancer Vaccine Therapy.
Dr. Harper is the Co Founder and Chairman of One Welbeck Health Partners, the ground-breaking diagnostic and multi-disciplinary treatment clinic in London, and sits on several international medical advisory boards