Sink or Swim: The story of a survivor


Sink or Swim: The story of a survivor

By Shelley Hanna

ISBN13: 9781869507350

RRP $34.99




Shelley Hanna cycled 500km across Vietnam and Cambodia for charity, won three gold medals in swimming at the New Zealand Masters Games, set up her own business and worked with the YWCA to bring an exercise and support programme to New Zealand - all after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

In 2000, when Shelley was first diagnosed, she thought she was going to die, or that if she survived her quality of life would be much worse than before.  She was 41 and facing a double mastectomy, followed by three months of aggressive chemotherapy.

But Shelley had just taken up swimming, and she discovered the power of exercise to motivate and heal.

She found there was very little research or information back then on the benefits of exercise in cancer recovery but she persevered with her swimming routine, even during the long arduous winter of chemotherapy, and surprised both her oncologist and herself with the speed of her recovery.

Shelley realised that a cancer diagnosis did not have to spell the end of all the good things in her life; she could make a full recovery.  Having cancer actually gave Shelley the confidence to set bigger goals for herself, and as she achieved these her confidence increased and her goals grew still further.  A chance meeting with double amputee Mark Inglis developed into a supportive friendship as they explored issues of survival, recovery and resilience.

In his introduction to Sink or Swim, Mark writes: 'I thought I had the whole amputation thing sussed when I went "under", but I came to realise very soon after waking that things are never as clear-cut.  I certainly wish I had the example of Shelley way back then... applying logic and a positive attitude to the challenves that make life "interesting".'

Insightful, honest and inspiring, Sink or Swim is Shelley's story of the battle for her recovery.

'Being diagnosed with cancer is a traumatic and frightening experience, despite advances in treatment.  Cancer patients need tools to help them through the long months of treatments, including a belief that they can recover.' says Shelley.

'I have written my story to give other cancer patients hope.  Hope that cancer will not take away their energy, their joy and their plans for the future.  Cancer patients are inspired by other cancer patients and I know my story will change lives.'

About the Author

Born in Cape Town, Shelley Hanna was educated at Wyberg Girls' School and completed a BA degree at the Univeristy of Cape Town.  After three years as a high school English teacher she left for overseas, working in England and France as a stable hand, au pair, cook and office temp.  After meeting her New Zealand husband-to-be, Bruce, in London, she travelled to New Zealand.  Shelley and Bruce spent ten years on the east cost of the South Island where their two children were born.  The family now lives on a berry farm in Hawkes Bay.



Cancer will touch all of our lives at some point but thanks to medical advancements, we are diagnosing cancer earlier and getting better at treating the disease. Sadly, by the time my father's cancer was discovered it was already at an advanced stage and despite numerous surgeries and therapies, he lost his battle three months shy of his fifty-sixth birthday. However, I am also blessed to know a growing number of survivors who following successful treatment have faced the challenges of life after cancer.

Sink or Swim will provide comfort and inspiration to anyone moving through the darkest hours of a cancer diagnosis;  dealing with the ravages of treatment; and the unchartered teritory remission.

Shelley's account of her own battles and successes provides the reader with valuable insight into the physical and emotional challenges faced by cancer patients.  Whether you are a patient, a survivor, a friend, or a family member, you will benefit from Shelley's optimism and down to earth approach to dealing with life after cancer diagnosis.  A truly uplifting read.



Reviewed by: Franciska


There are yet no reviews for this product.