Hope And Help From A Cancer Survivor, by Dale Morrison with Jacob West
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Dale Morrison in exchange for an honest book review. A copy of the book may be obtained here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1622452941?keywords=hope%20and%20help%20from%20a%20cancer%20survivor&qid=1448424373&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1%5D
In this short (about 180 page) memoir, Dale Morrison manages to make quite a few points in a very matter-of-fact way. This memoir is ostensibly about the author’s struggle with cancer and related health problems, including a frequently fatal virus in the brain and the rigors of a bone marrow transplant, and much of the book discusses the author’s own health, but there is a lot more to this book than that. One can tell a great deal about a book from its opening words, and the author’s opening words in the introduction set the tone for the book in many ways: “Imagine the darkest night. How long would it last? How void would the sky seem of stars and the moon? How long would the sun delay its rising (xv).” Like many people, the author’s health woes filled him with a great deal of anguish, but at the same time he was able to focus a lot of that energy and concern on helping and encouraging others, something that shines through in this book.
In terms of its contents, this book is mostly chronological, containing some expert notes on cancer, mesothelioma doctors feedback, etc, but begins with a great deal of context, dealing with the stubbornness common in his family, the sudden marriage of his parents when his father was a 17-year old expelled from school and his mother was fourteen. The author discusses spiritual mentors, trips to Haiti and India, and the development of Hope & Help, an organization he established with the support of his family and local congregation that provides music, stories, and healthy food to those dealing with cancer in replacement of the sugar that the author mentions several times only feeds the cancer. Clearly that was a lesson the author learned well. The author also talks about the experiences of his mother with the same type of cancer he had, and the rare cancer an adorable granddaughter of his has, who continued the family tradition of having their own not-for-profit, in her case a lemonade stand. The author spends a fair amount of time talking about the love of his family as well as the generosity of the man who donated bone marrow to save his life, while also speaking a bit about angelic intervention.
There is a lot to appreciate about this book. Throughout the book, the co-writer does a good job helping Dale’s story sing with elegant and clearly heart-felt prose. The author is clearly a patriotic Texan and views life in a way that only a Texan can. The author also comments somewhat poignantly on the difficulties he had relating to his father. Hopefully, the pictures towards the end of the book do not deceive the reader into recognizing that the author appears to have a better relationship with his kids than he had most of his life with his father. Reading about the author’s faith, and his consistent desire to answer needs with practical aid is admirable, even if some of the adventures he recounts are at least a little bit dangerous, including his experience with ambushes in Haiti. Overall, the author’s faith as well as his life, including a love of sports, shine through, and his ability to turn disease into outgoing concern for others is an example of hope for others, and should help those readers who are struggling with analogous difficulties.