When writer, writing professor and two-time cancer survivor Julie Davey first began her writing workshops at City of Hope, she wanted to help patients, survivors, caretakers and loved ones express their emotions about cancer through prose and poetry. Now, she and her students will have a chance to help others: Their tales soon will be available in the book “Writing for Wellness: A Prescription for Healing.”
The upcoming book contains inspiring poems and stories from more than 60 participants in the class, which also is called “Writing for Wellness.” The book’s foreword is co-written by 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.
Davey noted that the “seed of publishing a book was always there” when she started the biweekly classes in collaboration with the 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,” Davey said. “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.”
In addition to 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, the news of its upcoming publication already has been shared in class, and students are ecstatic.
“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.”
“Writing for Wellness: A Prescription for Healing” is expected to be published by Seattle-based Idyll Arbor Inc. in early fall.