New Beginnings: The Triumphs of 120 Cancer Survivors. Photographs by Bill Aron; text edited by Bill Aron, Bill Kavanagh and Susan Carrier. Skyhorse Publishing, 255 pp., $24.99.
This beautiful book features smiling cancer survivors on the cover, including two young women jumping for joy. And the smiling faces continue inside.
Bill Aron, whose photos have been exhibited in major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, began working on this book in 2006. A prostate cancer survivor diagnosed at 52, he writes that "Cancer became, as many survivors concur, the worst and best gift I ever received -- the catalyst for accepting my limitations, my mortality, and my strengths."
You'll meet Aaron Rutz, diagnosed with leukemia in 2007 at age 9, who now "hopes to go to med school to become a pediatric hematologist-oncologist." And Beverlye Hyman Fead, an artist and poet diagnosed at age 57 with uterine cancer: "I feel I have made my life count by helping those I don't even know." And Chelsea Kauffman, diagnosed at 15 with germ cell teratoma: "I know not to sweat the small things but focus on the big." And many more.
THE SCOOP As health columnist Jane E. Brody, diagnosed with cancer at age 57, writes in the foreword, "Conquering cancer is really not about the cure. It's about living -- living well for as long and as fully as one can."
THE BOTTOM LINE There is pain in the stories, but, ultimately, there is joy.