Sharing the voices of children with cancer

Trisha Paul, author of "Chronicling Childhood Cancer"Last year, I was invited to be a guest writer on this blog to talk about my experiences volunteering at Mott Children’s Hospital with children on the pediatric oncology unit and how it inspired me to begin an exciting project to share their stories.

Since that time, we’ve been able to turn our dream into a reality.

Our new book, “Chronicling Childhood Cancer,” has been published and shares the voices of ten youth who were undergoing cancer treatment.

Through verbal conversations, written texts, and/or visual representations, these children with cancer shared with me their personal and intimate experiences.

It has been an honor to listen to these children, to give them a chance to have their voice be heard. The written and drawn narratives in the book, some of which are excerpted in the below slideshow, illuminate aspects of childhood cancer that too often remain hidden.

Lexie, Mary, William, Shannon, Celeste, Jacob, Tamia, Zoey, Christina, and Ruben provide insight into the unique intricacies to each of their cancer experiences. My hope is that their stories will
be a resource for all those involved with childhood cancer.

Only in appreciating these unique experiences, I believe, can we work together to treat the many facets of cancer.

The people at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital— from physicians, nurses, and child life specialists to parents, siblings, and patients—have all inspired me to cherish these children and devote myself to
their cause. As an aspiring pediatric oncologist, I want to dedicate my life to these children, to someday confront childhood cancer with compassion.

With the support of Dr. Rajen Mody, a Mott pediatric oncologist and Principal Investigator for this research, and Professor Melanie Yergeau, my thesis advisor from the U-M English Department, this idea has grown into so much more than I could ever have hoped.

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to Mott families, whose encouragement has always meant so much to me. Most importantly, I am grateful to the children at Mott. It has truly been a privilege to spend time getting to know these youth with cancer over the years. In sharing part of their lives with me, these children have touched my own life. Now, it is my honor to share their stories with you.

“Chronicling Childhood Cancer,” is currently available on Amazon, and at the Literati bookstore and Bookbound in Ann Arbor. In addition, Literati is hosting a book reading and/or signing event featuring Trisha Paul, along with the child and teen authors of these stories on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014 at 7 p.m. This event will be an opportunity to meet the people behind these stories as well as to learn more about how this research project came about as an interdisciplinary collaboration at the University of Michigan.  All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated, with fifty percent benefitting the Block Out Cancer campaign for pediatric cancer research at the University of Michigan and fifty percent benefitting the Child and Family Life Program at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Trisha Paul is a first year medical student at the University ofTrisha Paul, author of "Chronicling Childhood Cancer" Michigan Medical School. She has been volunteering with pediatric oncology patients at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital for five years, and she aspires to become a pediatric oncologist. She received a B.S. in English with Honors along with minors in Biochemistry and Medical Anthropology from the University of Michigan. Trisha writes about her experiences in literature and medicine at illnessnarratives.com.


mott blog - BOC thumbBlock Out Cancer is a rallying cry for people from all walks of life to come together to support the fight against children’s cancers.  Everyone has a role to play.  Learn more about how you can help Block Out Cancer.


best children's hospitalUniversity of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” in 2014, and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine in 2013. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.