Coffee with Susan Lewis

The Cape Town Book Fair is back as the South Africa Book Fair.  The longterm plan is to have an annual book fair but for it to alternate between Cape Town and Johannesburg.  My weekend plans changed and I had a chance to go yesterday.  I booked for the breakfast session: radio journalist Nancy Richards interviewing the English author Susan Lewis.
I chose the session as I knew that Susan Lewis has a breast cancer project planned and I wanted to know more about it.  The main topic of the session was how to get published and stay writing.  She had many words of advice:
Read a lot of books in the genre you wish to write.  There are many authors who who write well: learn from them. 
Choose an agent carefully.  
Recognise that as a writer, you are part of a team.  The book has to be edited, marketed and sold.  
Enjoy your first line and remember that it can be changed.

Having had the opportunity to listen to a number of well known authors talk about their lives, I have reaslised that it is hard work.  Susan Lewis, for example, has to produce 2 books a year and she does all her own research.  Judi Picoult said her year was in 2 parts: 6 months of the year was spent on research, 6 months on writing.  Add to that the emails that have to be answered.

After the formal session, I had coffee with Susan and talked to her about her project for Breast Cancer Care.  Susan's involvement with breast cancer started when her mother died of breast cancer.  Earlier this year, she wrote a book "Never Say Goodbye".  I haven't read the book yet but understand it to be about the friendship between 2 women from different backgrounds.  One develops breast cancer and undergoes treatment.  During the course of writing the book, Susan became more involved with Breast Cancer Care and is inviting people to send in stories about support.  The stories will then be compiled into a book and the proceeds will go to Breast Cancer Care.

During my working life, I am privileged to hear extraordinary stories of hope, courage and support.  Do you think we should compile a Southern African version of personal stories?  Could we use narrative to dispel some of the myths preventing women from seeking help?

Susan: thank you for time and inspiration.  It is up to us to do something locally.


Fund Raising Breakfast for the breast course for nurses

Michelle Norris doing laughter yoga
Yesterday, Michelle Norris (marketing manager Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital) organised a fund raising breakfast for the Breast Course for Nurses.  It was a great success and I would like to thank everyone who attended.

The event was held at the Atlantic Imbizo, (Vand AWaterfront) which really lends itself to functions.  The conference room is well equipped and the food is always good.  Thanks to all of the team there.

Dr Douglass (Pathcare) doing laughter yoga
After I had given my talk, the main entertainment came from Kate Squire-Howe who is a laughter yoga teacher.  Although she had told me what she did, I didn't really understand it until she had us all laughing in different ways.  She started being involved with it after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and realised that she wanted to spend her time enjoying herself.

Kate getting us all laughing

Michelle sold the tables to different companies/practices.  A huge thank you to all the people who bought a table: Bard Medical, Bergman Ross Radiologists, Discovery, Judith Whittaker and associatesMorton and Partners, Netcare, Pathcare, Xpedient.  We had a raffle for variour prizes that had been donated.  The prizes included a beautiful teddy bear made by Mrs Crossier, a voucher from Dr Paul Skoll, wines from individuals (the Cox, Wrightford and Wegelin families) and various prizes from Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital.

Dr Peter Bell and Dr Ben Mervis standing with Samantha Brown's painting

Samantha Brown generously donated a painting which we felt was far too big to be included in the raffle.  It was auctioned and bought by Dr Bell on behalf of Morton and Partners.  If you visit the mammogram room in CBMH, you will be able to see it.  Nexion provided us with free credit card facilities.

On behalf of all the nurses who are able to do the course for free, thank you to all of you!

Gadija, Jean-Claude (who does our webpage) and Lieske


Events coming up in Cape Town

There are 2 events coming up in Cape Town in the next couple of months.  The first is a breakfast to be held at the Vineyard Hotel oragainised by PLWC.  The theme to the morning's discussion is living with metastatic breast cancer.  This is the second breakfast to be hosted by PLWC specifically about the challenges of living with metastatic disease.    The last breakfast was well attended and very interesting.  If you would like to attend, please contact Joleen Retief 02194944060 (office hours)

The second event will be held on 30/8/14 at the Waterfront.  It is the 3rd scientific meeting of BIGOSA (the Breast Interest Group Southern Africa.)  The programme includes 2 talks from the guest speaker Prof Dr Sylvia Hewang-Kobrunner.

I look forward to seeing you at either or both events.