Confronting death three times, with a “never surrender” attitude – and inspiring millions
My daughter had just learned she would have to endure still more chemotherapy for her leukemia. A tear welled up in her eye. But she quickly stopped herself, and her steely resolve returned. “If Ben can go through everything he’s had to deal with,” she said, “I can do this.”
Amy kept her commitment, with flying colors. So did Ben.
Ben Rubenstein is a cancer survivor nonpareil and author of Twice: How I became a cancer-slaying Super Man before I turned 21. It’s a book that every cancer patient should read. So should every member of families dealing with cancer, and every healthcare professional working to save those patients.
My daughter met Ben at the Children’s National Medical Center clinic, where they both were going for treatment, and later read his book. An online review succinctly describes his ordeal and ultimate victory – and helps explain why the book had such a profound impact.
“At 16, when most high school juniors are worried about getting a driver’s license, getting a date, getting on the tennis team or getting into college – Ben Rubenstein got Cancer. But relying on the pop culture icon Superman, he took on harrowing surgeries, transplants, chemical therapies and inner struggles, to beat Cancer – twice. Like his offbeat and irreverent weblog, ‘CancerSlayerBlog,’ the compelling, behind-the-scenes story related in his book combines the author’s unique blend of humor, honesty and an indefatigable attitude that helped him become a two-time cancer survivor.”
Actually, the blurb and the book’s title are a bit misleading. By the time his book was published, Ben was winning his third battle with a life-threatening disease, and could have written Thrice.
Number One was bone cancer: Ewing’s sarcoma. Sharp pain, deep inside his hip, during a tennis match, told him something was wrong. The cancer eventually destroyed most of his left ilium, which was removed surgically, causing his femur to push up into scar tissue, instead of his hip socket, and leaving his left leg several inches shorter than his right. (A lift in his shoe compensates.) But numerous chemotherapy and radiation treatments eventually beat the cancer.
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