‘My book group is my sup­port group’

Her fel­low read­ers have sup­ported Chris­tine San­der­son through breast can­cer

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Walk The Walk Special -

When I de­cided to set up a book group a decade ago, I was in re­mis­sion from breast can­cer. It had been such a dif­fi­cult few years – gru­elling treat­ment and the break-up of my mar­riage.

I in­vited friends to join that I’d met in dif­fer­ent ways – mums from the school gate, a fel­low nurse, women I’d known for years – and we’d meet ev­ery six weeks. What be­gan as a space to share our views on the lat­est Man Booker win­ner evolved into a meet­ing of minds and hearts that I wouldn’t be with­out. Once the mat­ter of dis­sect­ing mod­ern clas­sics, such as The Kite Run­ner or We Need To Talk About Kevin, was over, we would shift a gear and talk about other things go­ing on in our lives. I sup­pose it was part book group, part sup­port group.

So when, in 2015, I was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer for the sec­ond time, I came to ap­pre­ci­ate these women all the more. I knew I could share my feel­ings. At a time when life re­volved around hospi­tal ap­point­ments, I was also grate­ful to have a place where I had per­mis­sion to talk about some­thing else.

It was one of my book group friends who sug­gested we do the Moon­walk. Be­ing at the same life stage, as we are, many of our lives have been touched by can­cer. It will be a cel­e­bra­tion of a decade of dis­cus­sion and, for me, it will also mark the start of a brand-new chap­ter.

Chris­tine’s book group has helped her through tough times

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