When two-time cancer survivor Julie Davey first started putting on her writing workshops at City of Hope, she wanted to help people express their emotions about cancer through poetry and prose. Soon, she and her students will get a chance to help others do the same: Their tales will be available in a book.
Called “Writing for Wellness: A Prescription for Healing,” the work contains inspiring poems and stories from more than 60 patients and their family members and friends in the workshops, which also are called “Writing for Wellness.”
Davey noted that the “seed of publishing a book was always there” when she started the biweekly classes together with City of Hope’s Department of Patient, Family & Community Education. The idea gradually grew as Davey noticed her students’ pieces improving and local media began publishing some of the writing.
“Their stories were so compelling and they communicated a shared experience we all have,” said Davey, a writing professor. “We want to let others going through a difficult time to know that they are not alone, and reading these inspirational stories and writing their own will help get them through.”
Besides including students’ stories, Davey also writes in the book about her own cancer journey, gives tips and advice for effective writing and provides space for readers to write their own tales of courage and healing.
“Writing about the experiences will help provide the emotional and spiritual ‘co-therapy’ while the body is being treated with physical therapy; that helps take care of the whole person, not just the disease,” Davey said.
While the manuscript still awaits printing, students already are ecstatic about its upcoming publication.
“It’s wonderful that Julie got this together,” said patient and class participant Anna Escobosa. “People can read this and know how we feel, and it will do a lot of good for them.”
City of Hope’s Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president and chief executive officer, and Lucille Leong, M.D., associate director of clinical affairs in the Division of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research, co-wrote the book’s foreward. “Writing for Wellness: A Prescription for Healing” is expected to be published by Seattle-based Idyll Arbor Inc. this fall.