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Inspirational Stories

Lauren

Lymphoma Survivor

Wheaton, IL

After being diagnosed Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age twenty-two, my battle with cancer led to a very unexpected journey in my life: becoming an author. I’m very grateful to share that I’ve now been cancer-free for eight years, and my debut fantasy novel The Memory Thief was published by HarperCollins in October of 2019.

 My path to falling in love with writing fiction began while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. As a way to process my emotions, I journaled, filling page after page with my deepest thoughts, worries, and fears that were often too painful for me to say out loud. I also wrote about the amazing people who supported me throughout my battle with cancer and how much I valued (and still do value!) those relationships.

When I completed my treatments, my scans showed no active cancer, and I’ll forever cherish the memory of hearing that news! Though I was cancer-free when I graduated college, I wasn’t healthy enough to look for a job, so my parents suggested I do something creative to help in my healing process. For some reason, all I could think about was writing a book. Similar to journaling, writing fiction helped me express myself in ways that I’d never done before and helped me process some of my most difficult memories.

Once I started writing, I found that I never wanted to stop! I’ve been very thankful that becoming an author has now opened doors to speak about courage, vulnerability, healing, and maintaining hope in the midst of hardship. The main thing that I hope readers take away from this story is that it isn't the hardships of the past which define us but the strength we find in overcoming them.

My battle with cancer taught me how important it is not to give up, and I’m incredibly grateful for the doctors, nurses, family members, friends, and even strangers who encouraged me in ways that will forever impact my life.