You are a survivor. And you have a story. Moreover, your story has power. Your experiences, your lessons learned, your insights – they delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, and challenge. Sharing your story helps others understand. Your story will imprint a picture on the mind of the listener. Your story is the way to reach out to other kindred spirits and emotionally connect.
Women Survivors Alliance, Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, Narus Health and New Focus Network believe in the power of storytelling and are inviting cancer survivors from around the country to share their story.
Michael Burcham, CEO of Narus Health states, “Survivors have a story. Moreover, the story has power. Cancer survivor experiences, lessons learned, and insights – delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, and challenge. Sharing stories helps others understand. Each story imprints a picture on the mind of the listener Through this partnership, we are asking for survivors from around the world reach out to other kindred spirits and emotionally connect.”
Stories in essay form have the opportunity to be featured in a coffee-table style book as well as be part of the online New Focus Daily Magazine and shared on social media.
Why should you share your story?
There’s someone out there just like you. There is a person out there who likely has a similar diagnosis or a similar life situation. They may be a few months or a year or so behind you in their own journey – and they feel alone. They are frightened by what they read on the web. They fear what’s next. They may have limited family support. They may feel like a pawn being moved along the board by the healthcare industry.
Sharing your story – and your own insights and lessons learned will inspire. It lights a pathway – sometimes to a cure; but always to healing.
In dealing with a serious medical condition – you faced decisions about your health, your body, your treatment, your family. It was the fusion of all things – some days you felt like (or were treated like) the illness rather than the person with the illness.
Looking back, you’re wiser. You know the intended and unintended consequences of choices made. You know exactly how to answer the question of “what would I do differently knowing what I know now…” Storytelling is a way to share that knowledge to help others.
Getting your story out of your head – and out of your heart – is a powerful form of therapy. Giving voice to your emotions and feelings promotes healing. Sharing your insights and lessons learned with others amplifies how you’ve changed and personally grown. Storytelling allows us to release anger, grief, sadness – and give ourselves grace. You will find that – through storytelling – you learn more about yourself than your audience will learn from your story.
When we tell stories to others that have really helped us shape our thinking and way of life, we can have the same effect on them too. The brains of the person telling a story and listening to it can synchronize, says Uri Hasson from Princeton.
Sharing your story helps with a very basic human need to understand patterns of life — not merely life as an intellectual exercise but as a highly personal, emotional journey – a collection of joy and sadness – and the scars that prove we were indeed in the battle – and we survived.
Here’s How You Prepare to Share Your Story
So, how do you go about crafting the story you want to share? There are some easy steps to follow to get started.
Step out from the background, get ahead of the numbers, and put your name, your face, and your personality behind your story. Harness the power of the personal. People forget facts, but they never forget a great story.
Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And what’s the best way to make people feel? By sharing your compelling story. If you need help, here are some GREAT questions you can ask yourself while thinking through your outline.
A FEW QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER WHEN WRITING YOUR STORY! HAVE FUN!
Who is my target audience – with whom do I want to connect?
What is my goal for this story? To inform? To share a lesson learned?
The Opening: What thought or question will get the audience’s attention?
Part 1: The Sequence – What are the building blocks of this story?
Part 2: The Suspense – What the Heck is Happening?
Part 3: The Roller Coaster – The ups and downs, the good and bad, the ultimate outcome.
The Closing – the “Ah Ha” moment our thought to remember. Key take away.
Once you have completed your story, please email the .doc and your photo to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The photo doesn’t have to be formal. Please do not embed your photo into your essay submission. Send it as a separate attachment. Essay submissions must be a Word document attachment to an email. PDFs are not accepted.