Liam Cancer Book


I was never somebody who was going to write a book. I am not a great reader!

After months of fragile recuperation I was itching to make some kind of a return to the real world. I was fed up being an invalid. I decided a good thing to begin this was to sit down and write a short account of my story. I could do it in intermittently, over a period of time, depending on my mood and my energy levels.

At that very early stage I was just writing it for myself. I just wanted my own record of my own disease. I knew I would always remember the main players, but if I didn’t keep an account many of the smaller characters and finer detail could be lost over time. It ended up being 8 pages long and took me 4 months to complete. Had I not written that original script, everything that has happened since would probably never have happened.

Family members got hold of it first and then it got passed on by friends. By the time I had made a complete recovery in 2010 that initial script seemed to have found its way all around the globe. I began to receive emails from cancer patients all over Europe, the U.S., New Zealand, Canada & Australia all telling me what it had meant to them to read it.

At that point I began to realize I was carrying something very special. Something very rare and indeed, something very powerful. I knew I needed to preserve it and turn it into a form that could go out to anybody who it could benefit.

A form that would allow it to travel without me and indeed, after me, so that it would always be there to encourage and inspire. For all our technology the best way to preserve a story is still to write a book so I began to write and two years later “Cancer 4, Me 5 (after extra-time) was completed.

I wrote it from both sides of my treatment. It was to be a complete record of everything I had been through, but it was also written as the book I went looking for himself ten years earlier.

A book, written by somebody ordinary, not a hero or a celebrity but somebody like you on your street to take you through all the things that go through your head as face into a serious cancer diagnosis, right up to living and dying. All the little techniques I used to keep strong and stay focused when hope was in very short supply.

A book to explain how I always tried to make sure the fight was always going to be maintained to the end. How I tried to take strength from everything in my life to make sure I was the best patient I could be. How, in the end, what mattered most was that if I was to go, it was through no fault on my part. I called cancers bluff to let it know I was not afraid and the mindset I found was an essential piece in the jigsaw that kept me alive.

I wanted to write a book that held no promises or revealed magic cures, but could show you  the route to the summit, even if you have to do the climbing yourself.
And I am now glad to say from a very humble origin, my little book has now managed to find its way to individuals in all corners of the globe, many of whom are now friends who made contact to say it helped give them strength and perspective to keep climbing the mountain in front of them.



Many people have asked how the book got its title

Cancer 4 – Stage 4 tumor.(One consultant admitted to me that mine could have been classed Stage 44)

Me 5 – To beat any individual cancer you must serve out 5 years of remission, without any re-occurrence. So it was as if Cancer went 0-4 up in the first few minutes, expecting a walkover. And it took me all of five years to come back and win 5-4!

Extra-time (Overtime in the U.S.!) – This represents the two bouts of meningitis and a deep vein thrombosis I got during my treatment, all of which nearly killed me by themselves.

In sporting terms I also felt a 4-5 scoreline gives a good indication of what the game itself was like. A ding-dong affair that could have gone either way in the end.

Finally I wanted the title to reflect the book I went looking for myself. I didn’t want that book to have an obscure title like “The Hills are Green in Tipperary.” I wanted the title to tell me “You can beat cancer”. I wanted a cancer patient in a little airport in New Zealand or a second-hand bookstore in New York to pick up this book and know what it contains for them inside by just reading the title. The title tells them immediately, this book has done what they now need to do.