Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fight cancer with more than a book

     The last time I was in Myopic Books on Milwaukee Avenue, I faced a dilemma. They had Time on Fire, Evan Handler's funny and terrifying account of surviving leukemia despite being treated at Sloan-Kettering in New York City. It is something of a guerrilla guide to beating cancer (Practical Tip #1: don't feel reluctant about hectoring reluctant medical technicians about washing their hands) and I give it to all my friends when they get cancer, and every single recipient survived (well, Jim Tyree is no longer with us, alas, but he wasn't done in by the cancer, but by the ineptitude of a med tech trying to insert a line for dialysis. Handler is right; you have to watch them like a hawk). 
     I always pick up a copy, because someone is always coming down with the Big C. The challenge was that Myopic had three copies -- my instinct was to buy them all, to have a reserve. 
     But that seemed a commitment to my friends getting cancer en masse, and I didn't want to err on that side. I bought one, and still have it, so I made the right decision. 
     Passing along books to people who contract cancer is, I admit, a rather low key approach to fighting the disease. Which is why I'm so much in admiration of my friend Eleni Bousis, who last year took much more dynamic course of action: she formed the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation. 
    The HCRF has one goal -- "to eliminate cancer and save lives" — and is doing so by supporting the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Canter at Northwestern University, in the forefront of what is called "translational research," which basically means speeding new therapies from the lab to actual patients who can be helped by them. 
     Toward that end, the HCRF is holding its Inaugural Gala at the Hilton Chicago on Nov. 5, hosted by Susanna Homan, Anna Davlantes and Lou Canellis. That's only two weeks away, but there are still tickets available. I'll be there, adding my sequin's worth of sparkle to the black tie evening.  I'll also auction off my new book, though I'll warn you -- I'm instructing Edie to jack the bidding up so it doesn't go for less than the Amazon price. And yes, there is dancing.
    You can learn more about the event and buy tickets by clicking here. As you know, I don't ballyhoo causes upon my readership here very often -- in fact, I never have. But I'm a big fan of Elani Bousis, and I think that cancer sucks, so it's also the least I can do. By the time I deliver a copy of Time on Fire to friends, they're already in the thick of the struggle. Curing cancer seems a much more more aggressive approach to the problem.  It's a fun night for a great cause and I hope you can join me. 


  1. A very good cause, worhty of support. Indeed, cancer sucks, and it isn't a subject easy to be positive about, but for the many light on history who seem to believe we live in uniquely parlous times, there are a few observations that could be made. One reason cancer has come to the forefront as a scourge is that more of us are living longer. No one is immune, but your odds of getting it increase with age. And research, much of it funded, to the dismay of libertarians everywhere, by governments has yielded results. Not necessaryily in effecting "cures" but in prolonging lengevity and mitigaing suffering.

    Tom Evans

  2. Thanks for the book recommendation. Unfortunately I have a newly-diagnosed recipient in mind.


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