What in the World Are You Doing with Cancer?

From the Introduction:

Cancer, seriously? It’s such a bizarre and surreal thing to be diagnosed with cancer–that terrible and ominous word looming in the void, affecting millions each year. And yet, who ever really thinks it will happen to him or her? Not me, for sure. At a time when I was trying to figure out who I was and what to do with my life, having cancer as a part of my identity never once crossed my mind. Cancer was something I knew about and saw in movies or heard old people talk about at family gatherings. I secretly feared it coming for me, but then I remembered I’m not very unique and don’t really stand out, so surely I’d be exempt from something like that. My life was pretty normal, and while at times I thought that was lame, I figured it also meant I’d be able to sidestep something tragic or monumental like cancer.

I was a college senior, twenty-one years old, and a varsity NCAA athlete in great health. I felt fine on the day I found out I had cancer. I didn’t smoke, drink, do drugs, sleep around, go to tanning salons, or live an extraordinary life. And I’m pretty sure I’ve never been exposed to Agent Orange (yep, that’s a risk factor for Hodgkin’s). I’m actually a very ordinary person who makes safe choices. To many, being twenty-one means partying and living carefree, but my twenty-first year was one I’ll never forget and that will impact me for the rest of my life for very different reasons. Instead of celebrating freedom, blowing off college classes, and being otherwise irresponsible, my twenty-first year included frequent trips to the hospital, learning what chemotherapy was, worrying about my white blood cell counts, listening to my body’s limits, and wondering what on earth I was doing with cancer.


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Praise for What in the World Are You Doing with Cancer?

“College and cancer are two words you typically do not expect to hear in the same sentence, much less expect to hear when describing a young, vibrant woman who has her whole life in front of her. When Hannah first received her diagnosis of cancer, she was a student at Wheaton College and certainly never anticipated this major turn in her journey. Through the help of family, friends, and faith she was able to walk through the challenge, growing, learning, and reaching out to others as a result. Her story is one of recovery, courage, and strength. I know you will be blessed from the life lessons Hannah learned along the road she had never planned for her life.”

-Karol Ladd, author of Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive and The Power of a Positive Woman


“God uses the trials of life as a classroom to teach us what it means to more fully surrender to Him. I for one am grateful that Hannah McGinnis decided to write down much of what God taught her in her battle with disease in What in the World Are You Doing with Cancer? Let her experiences and insights inspire and shape your story, whether you are facing cancer yourself, loving someone who is, or just stuck in the muck of life, whatever it may be.”

-Mark Saunders, senior pastor, Bay Life Church, Brandon, FL


“Hannah McGinnis is the real deal. She honestly shares her journey through cancer with the strength of an athlete and the faith of a saint. Her story is not so much about her victory over the disease as it is about her trust in Jesus that is an example to any of us who face the realities of life. Follow her story with cancer. She can lead you to a deeper trust in God that will strengthen you through whatever you face today.”

-Gene Wilkes, Ph.D., former senior pastor, Legacy Church, Plano, TX, and author of Jesus On Leadership and An Angel in the Flame


“Hannah McGinnis invites us into the dark room of cancer that we dread to enter ourselves. This young woman–athlete, college student, and aspiring teacher–seeks a flu shot but discovers she must face the threat of a fatal disease. Her journey of grief and fear draws on the strengths of perseverance, prayer, and the power of love from her family and her faith in God. The ultimate fight for life is the one we must wage in our own souls. Hannah’s story will help you win it.”

-Dr. Gene Pond, associate professor, Dallas Theological Seminary