Today's guest: Karen White Why we love her: She's not just a fabulous writer, but she's the spokesperson for Read Pink 2013 and in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she (along with 13 other authors including Nora Roberts and Sarah Jio) is helping raise money for breast cancer research.
The scoop: In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Penguin is once again reissuing 14 of their women’s fiction and contemporary romance titles with special Read Pink seals, to promote our $25,000 donation to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), made regardless of sales. And Karen is sharing an EXCLUSIVE guest post with us today about what it means to her to be a part of this.
Giveaway: The entire 2013 reissue list. That's ALL 14 BOOKS (full list below)! (US Only) Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll choose the lucky someone on Sunday, October 6th after 12PM PST.
- Karen White, The Beach Trees
- Nora Roberts, Chasing Fire
- Erika Robuck, Hemingway’s Girl
- Jodi Thomas, Just Down the Road
- Carly Phillips, Perfect Fit
- JoAnn Ross, Sea Glass Winter
- Karen Rose, Did You Miss Me?
- Catherine Anderson, Lucky Penny
- Kate Jacobs, The Friday Night Knitting Club
- LuAnn McLane, Pitch Perfect
- Liane Moriarty, What Alice Forgot
- Alyson Richman, The Lost Wife
- Sarah Jio, The Last Camellia
- Penelope Lively, How It All Began
LIZ & LISA PRESENT...EXCLUSIVE GUEST POST BY KAREN WHITE
Most of us are raised with certain expectations. When we are small, we know we’ll be punished or put on restriction for lying or hitting our brother. As we get older, we learn that studying hard and doing our homework usually causes better results than daydreaming and blaming the dog for eating the essay that was due yesterday. We know that we’ll never make the Varsity basketball team if we don’t shoot some hoops over summer vacation and show up for every practice.
As we give up our childhoods, we adopt a whole new level of expectations. That if we keep on top of our game and work hard we’ll rise in our careers. If we save enough money for a down payment on a house, we’ll be on our way to future financial security. And if we eat right and exercise we’ll enjoy good health for the rest of our lives.
Unfortunately, life isn’t always as accommodating as we would like. As the old saying goes, life is what happens when we’re making other plans. Just when we’re moving in our expected forward trajectory, the proverbial brick wall is dropped in front of us.
As I write this, I have a close tie to five women my age who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the last five years: a neighbor, a New York Times bestselling author, a close friend, the president of a bookseller’s association, and my sister-in-law. You get the phone call, or the email to let you know, and you stop breathing for a moment at the suddenness of it. The awfulness of it. The sheer unexpectedness of it. How could this be?
All five of these women are survivors who are inspiring examples of fortitude, perseverance, and courage. And I think that’s where the life lesson comes from. They fought the fight, they endured the hair loss, the surgery, the nausea from chemo. They posted silly pictures of themselves with headscarves and bandages on Facebook and I was in awe of their ability to smile. In support, friends and family wore pink ribbons and pink shirts, and ran races and collected donations for breast cancer research. As equally inspiring as my friends’ determination to fight their cancer, was the resolve I saw in the support of their circle of friends and family. We were in this together.
I’m so very thankful for the doctors and the nurses, the researchers and the campaigns and fundraisers who have worked so hard to change what it means to receive a breast cancer diagnosis. A diagnosis today includes a large helping of hope backed by science and the doggedness of those who brought us to this point.
My friends and I all joke about the indignities of our annual mammograms, and how to prepare for it we should lie down on the garage floor and ask our husbands to run over our chests with the family minivan. We laugh about having a “bosom buddy” to help remind us to do a self-exam, or we joke about our husbands volunteering to “help.” We laugh, but we also understand that this is something we owe to not just ourselves and our families, but also to the mothers, sisters, and daughters who’ve gone before us. Early detection is key, and we all know stories of women who caught their cancer in the first stages because of their regular self-exams and mammograms.
Last month my nephew Gavin, a First Lieutenant in the US Army, stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and sustained severe injuries including the loss of one of his legs. The first photo we saw was of him in his hospital bed, bandaged and bruised with all sorts of tubes and wires connecting him to various pieces of equipment. But after looking closely at the photo, we could see that despite heavily bandaged arms he was giving his trademark two-thumbs up to the camera.
Gavin’s mother is a breast cancer survivor. She fought the fight with all the strength and courage it takes to win. And she did—with flying colors. She now runs marathons and is an outspoken proponent of good health and nutrition. We are confident that her son has learned by example what it takes to not only survive this crisis, but to be stronger for it.
October is breast cancer awareness month, which is when I always schedule my annual exam. Time to head out to the garage and lie down on the floor and tell my husband to grab the car keys. I’ll smile at the jokes, but my smile will be full of gratitude.
To all of those who have fought the fight, or are in the middle of the battle, here’s a two-thumbs up for you. You are not alone. We are all in this together.
Thanks, Karen! And thank you to Penguin and all of the authors who are participating!