Surviving Cancer: keeping laughter and faith in high gear

November 27, 2012 

Having never met Fred Evans face to face, I know we share one degree of separation.  Beyond the fact he graduated from my beloved alma mater three months before I entered, reading his book I immediately felt a connection like the lifelong buddy down the street.  That connection came personified and magnified in Surviving Cancer:  Keeping Laughter and Faith in High Gear.  Fred Evans chronicles his experience coping and overcoming a life threatening health crisis in a way so deeply personal and endearing, readers will find themselves laughing, crying, and comforted by his words.

It is a must read particularly for those facing similar circumstances, patients, caregivers and relatives.  And let’s face it, few of us will go through this life without knowing someone who has or will battle the dreaded disease.   In Fred’s case it was prostate cancer.  Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it, and in fact, more than 2.5 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

However, the statistics among African American men are less favorable as they are more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, and more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as white men. Prostate cancer occurs less often in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites. The reasons for these racial and ethnic differences are not clear.

Fred Evans beat the odds.  In his business career, Fred worked for 30 years in the financial division of Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company. For 15 of those years he served as a Department Head.  During his career he worked on the corporate audit staff which included international audits in England, Spain, Switzerland, Venezuela, and Brazil.  Additionally, he served as the Financial Analyst for Eli Lilly affiliates in Argentina and Chile. It is perhaps his avocation as an avid cyclist that brings him the greatest satisfaction.  Much to his credit it also figured prominently in the battle providing a physical armor of stamina and strength necessary for fighting the disease as well as a support network sustaining his mind, body, and spirit.

The role of friends and family cannot be overestimated.  Fred has the benefit of a loving caring wife, Linda, his once nursery school classmate, and high school as well as college sweetheart.  He calls her his angel and she is right there beside him on every turn of the journey. Fred would endure the full cancer fighting strategy of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy.  There would be many physical challenges and side effects from uncontrollable hiccups, the chills, farting, and fatigue to peeing hot sauce.  Fred, like a well conditioned warrior, soldiered through it all with an athletic endurance acquired through his cycling.  His love of cycling plays a big part in his life.  He served as a past President of the Central Indiana Bicycling Association having cycled over 170,000 miles.

Perhaps the greatest component of his journey and conquest is the state of grace that carries him through it all.  Fred Evans shares the travails of his illness and recovery with ease and an incredible sense of faith and humor that makes this book an inspirational companion not just to those facing the battle but to their partners, friends, relatives, and lovers. The conversational tone is friendly and from the heart much like talking to a close friend—my buddy down the street.  Surviving Cancer:  Keeping Laughter and Faith in High Gear inspires so much hope and with five stars I recommend it highly.

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