If you’re anything like me, your college years were filled with two primary areas of focus: studying and having fun. (And if I’m being completely honest, for me those two priorities were flipped. But I digress…)
The real point of this post is to tell you about Carolyn Rubenstein and her new book. See, for Carolyn, the standard college repertoire of studying and having fun weren’t all she accomplished during college. She did much, much more. For example, she continued her work at Carolyn’s Compassionate Children, a charitable organization she founded at age fourteen to help children with cancer and other serious illnesses. And she wrote a book—a book that would come to be PERSEVERANCE, a book that just yesterday was released to the public.
As Carolyn says, “I wrote PERSEVERANCE while I was in college, and it became my way of communicating to 20 important people in my life. In short, it was a raw, emotional, and deeply personal experience. PERSEVERANCE is a collection of candid stories from 20 young people who have faced cancer head-on and emerged with a new outlook on life. Contained within the pages of PERSEVERANCE are life lessons that all of us can take away, with the message that “now is everything.” This book is a labor of love, and I hope the life lessons I learned from these brave survivors will inspire you, as well.”
These stories do just that—they inspire you in ways you couldn’t imagine.
I’m having a hard time articulating the essence of this book in a way that does it justice. I’m (beyond) inspired that a young person, someone who has never personally experienced cancer herself, has dedicated her life to helping young people with cancer, and now she is sharing their stories and life lessons with the rest of us. When I get this inspired, I get weepy (in a good way) but I have a hard time putting my thoughts together in a manner that is coherent and blog-worthy. I’ve been trying for two days now, so instead of continuing with the struggle, let me just share a quote from the book. This is an excerpt from Caroline Bridges, one of the young people whose story of perseverance is shared in the book.
“Having cancer causes a major shift in priorities. Your priority becomes yourself and your health. It isn’t that you become self-centered. It’s more that you become more attuned to what you need or want. Your health depends on your ability to listen to what your body and instincts are telling you.
For me, and probably for many people, I think I used to have an attitude similar to, “Okay, this current life isn’t pleasant, but I can deal with it. Something will eventually change.” I never honestly tried to figure out how to make my life better. I think I just figured it would automatically become so.”
And then later she says “It sounds silly, but most of us can’t or won’t admit to ourselves what we really want, and even fewer go out and try for it.”
If you’re looking for an inspiring read that will give you a new perspective on life, PERSEVERANCE won’t disappoint. There are so many nuggets of sage advice from young people who have a point of view few of us will ever have in our lives. (At least, so we hope.) As Caroline Bridges shares in the book “You don’t need a terminal illness to hit you over the head before you say, oh, wait, maybe that’s not how my life should be….think of it like I got sick so you don’t have to.”
Go here to order your copy of PERSEVERANCE. You will come away inspired and help others in the process—all of Carolyn’s proceeds from the book will go directly to Carolyn’s Compassionate Children and the Chordoma Foundation. Both are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.