Tea & Chemo by Jackie Buxton wins Best Cancer Book Prize at Live Better With’s Spotlight Awards
Blogger and author Jackie Buxton has been awarded the Best Cancer Book prize for her 2015 book, Tea & Chemo: Fighting Cancer, Living Life, at the inaugural Spotlight Awards by Live Better With.
Tea & Chemo is full of laughter, tears, honesty and hope, and offers inspirational words to everyone facing the life challenges that cancer inevitably brings.
At the age of 45, wife and mother Jackie Buxton was diagnosed with breast cancer. Determined to learn as much as possible about her condition, Buxton devoured patient information leaflets and online articles. But what she really wanted to read was the account of an ordinary person being treated for cancer who, crucially, emerged on the other side still smiling.
“I felt there was brilliant information from Macmillan and the hospital I needed on everything I needed to know factually,” said Jackie. “So I had no complaints finding that sort of information. But I wanted to find positive stories straight from the horse’s mouth. And they probably were on there online, but I was really scared of looking online because I didn’t want to find anything I didn’t want to read.”
Unable to find anything, the mother-of-two decided to do what she does best: write. Detailing her experiences in a blog, she soon found that people began to write to her saying that her blog had helped them in their own struggle with cancer. Delighted to be having an impact on others, Jackie realised that she had much more to say.
“People kept saying ‘you should get it published, you should make it into a book,’ but I thought people could read it online so there would be no need for a book,” explained Jackie.
“I suppose with the blog, the posts were very much in the moment, it was really a bird’s eye view of how it felt to be going through treatment and all the emotions attached to the treatment and the side effects. A few months on, after the active treatment, I felt like I had a lot more to add, almost a hindsight view. And because I had met a lot of other people along the way, and heard their views and opinions, I could use that to add a bit more depth.” And so Tea & Chemo was born.
On the book’s success, the mother-of-two said: “Two years later, I’m still getting feedback from people which is lovely. Getting the feedback, that’s the best thing. For people to take the time and try and find me online and message me to say ‘thank you, this book really helped’, that’s what I dared to hope, but I didn’t assume it at all. I just dared to hope it would help and be useful, and it seems that it has been, and continues to do so.”
The award-winning blogger was treated at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust’s very own Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre, and to give something back to the team who supported her so well, a third of the book profits are donated to the centre.
It’s now been four years since Jackie was diagnosed. We asked if what she would say to her past self if she could go back to the say of her diagnosis.
After having a think, she said: “I would say: ‘You’ll have difficult times, but you’ll still be the same person you were at the end as you were at the beginning.'” She added: “I’d also say: ‘You can do this, you’ll have difficult moments but you’ll still have a great life and you won’t have a personality transplant.'”
And what has the award-winning author learned from her illness?
She revealed: “I’ve had experiences of death from when I was young – my boyfriend died when I was 17 and then before I was 40, I had three friends die from cancer. So I think I’m different from other people because I’ve always known that you have to live every day. I didn’t really need cancer to say to me ‘don’t waste a moment’. And I don’t mean it in a showing off way, I just mean my life experience has already given me that. I think cancer reinforced that happiness is not how you lie in the sun, it’s how you dance in the rain.”
The first of its kind, the Spotlight Awards shine a light on the achievements of truly remarkable people, products, and services in the cancer community. Nominated by the public, and voted by a panel of expert judges, the winners are from all walks of life, of all ages, and from across the world.
The Spotlight Awards have been organised by Live Better With, an award-winning online platform where cancer patients and their loved ones can find products and information to help with the symptoms and side effects of living with cancer.
See the full list of Spotlight Award winners here.