Navigation Menu

What Pals Are Reading:  Seven Picks by Charmaine Skillman, July 26, 2020

During a recent Hope Zoom call, there was a lively discussion about books that Pals like to recommend. Here’s a list of what we talked about.  Most are widely available in both print and digital formats, as well as audio. To build a bigger list, please send your recommendations to  You can include videos, articles, movies, or even music you find inspiring.  We would love to compile a list of creative works that uplift, motivate, educate, and amuse you! 

Every Day I Fight:  Making a Difference, Kicking Cancer’s Ass (Stuart Scott & Larry Platt).  This is a top pick by popular ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott. He was diagnosed with appendix cancer at the height of his career and as his daughters were reaching their teen years.  Scott’s book is particularly important to Pals because there are so few public figures with this rare cancer whose experience promotes broader understanding and research. 

The Mission Walker (Edie Littlefield Sundby).  This book is an inspirational/faith-based work, describing the author’s hike of the 1,600-mile Mission Trail through Mexico and California after losing a lung to cancer.  This book combines outdoor adventure and internal contemplation for a unique look at what makes life meaningful.

Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up: The Inspiration of Jimmy V–One Coach, 11 Minutes, and an Uncommon Look at the Game of Life (Justin Spizman & Robyn F. Spizman).  Based on Coach Jim Valvano’s famous 1993 speech at the ESPY awards, this book portrays the courage and hope that sustained his fight against cancer of an unknown origin. Some print versions include a DVD of his speech.  Coach Jimmy V is well-known to sports fan but left an even broader impact through his foundation that has raised millions for cancer research.

Proof of Heaven:  A Neurosurgeon’s Near-Death Experience & Journey into the Afterlife (Eben Alexander, M.D.).  With a self-explanatory title, this book is available free on the Internet. It is based on the physician’s week long coma caused by bacterial meningitis; it explores faith, reality, and consciousness.  It’s is available in several languages, evidence of its world-wide appeal.   

Gut:  The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ (Giulia Enders, M.D.).  This humorous and educational look at your digestive system will give you a better understanding of how your gut works.  It also explains the importance of the gut’s microbiome to your physical and emotional health.  Incredibly, so little is known about this microscopic world, but the author has hope for future cures as research into this fascinating world accelerates. 

Anna’s Journey:  How Many Lives Does One Person Get?  (Anna Renault) This author was a guest speaker at the PMP Pals’ conference in 2016, a few years before she died. She was a cancer advocate, poet, author, and radio host in the Maryland area.  This is one of many books she wrote about her experience surviving numerous cancers.  She also wrote works for children experiencing cancer in their families, including Why Did My Dad Get Cancer, helpful for a child/parent conversation.  And, her charming “Mitzi the Butterfly” series introduces youngsters to some adult-world topics.  Note: Not all of her works are available in audio. 

The Last Lecture (Randy Pausch & Jeffrey Zolslow).  This book became a sensation when college professor Pausch, dying of cancer, addressed the common theme of advice for graduating students.  His book highlights life choices brought into focus when we learn we have less time than we thought we would. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” 

OK, friends, that’s our first list of books.   You will find these moving, fascinating, maybe even life-changing.  Keep your recommendations coming!