Persevere: A Life with Cancer


For People living with cancer and those who love and care about them. 


"If You Want To Know What The Future Might Be Like, 
Ask Someone Who Has Been There"


When Lisa Bonchek Adams was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 at the age of 37, she decided to start writing a blog about her life as a legacy to leave for her family. Her readership grew quickly, and Lisa discovered she had a remarkable gift for expressing what others could not find the words to say. Lisa fearlessly addressed difficult topics such as what to say to friends and family; how to make good decisions and handle bad news; and, most importantly, how to keep going when things start to seem hopeless. 


She helped those with cancer feel understood, and those without cancer to understand.

When Lisa died in 2015, her readers asked for a book that would bring together her most popular writings in one place.  Persevere: A Life With Cancer is the result. Equal parts poetry, journal, and memoir, it is a moving and inspiring portrait of what it means to live with a terminal illness, and a guide for patients, families, friends, and caregivers.

Find a bit of beauty in the world. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.
— Lisa Bonchek Adams

Helping to Fund Cancer Research

It was Lisa’s wish that all of the proceeds from the sale of this book be dedicated to researching a cure for metastatic breast cancer. In that spirit, we’ve established the Bonchek Family Foundation in her honor. Profits from the book in addition to tax deductible donations help the Foundation to continue Lisa’s work "to teach, to enlighten, to share, to support, to fundraise for research... and to always honor those who have died."


A Note From Lisa’s Family

From the Introduction by her mother and brother, Drs. Rita and Mark Bonchek:

The book is an edited collection of writings by Lisa Bonchek Adams. Lisa died in 2015 from breast cancer at the age of 45. She was a devoted wife and mother. She was also a remarkably prolific and talented writer. Lisa had a gift for conveying the experience of cancer in a way that helped those with cancer feel understood, and those without cancer to understand. She simplified the complexities of treatment in a way that educated and informed. Through her, the uncomfortable and painful became approachable and accessible, without minimization or denial.

Lisa had more than an audience: she had a community. On Facebook, Twitter, and her blog, thousands of people sought Lisa’s comfort and shared in her experience. They also supported each other. As Lisa said, “If you want to know what the future might be like, ask someone who has been there.” 

As her mother and brother, we are regularly approached by people who followed Lisa’s writings. They tell us how much her writings meant to them, either as patients themselves or in helping them support others. They were hopeful Lisa would publish her work to make it easier to reference and to share.

Unfortunately, Lisa did not have enough time to publish her writings in print. To carry on Lisa’s mission, we have curated Lisa’s blog posts into this collection. We have selected the writings that best capture her voice, spirit, experience, and wisdom. They are arranged in a way we believe will tell her story and enable you to know her in the way that others did when she was alive.

Lisa’s writings are truly timeless. We believe they will be as valuable today as when Lisa first wrote them. Be forewarned that some of the writings are not easy. But neither is cancer.


Appreciations For Lisa & Her Writing 

“A fantastic book for anyone suffering from cancer, any cancer survivor, or anyone who loves someone with cancer. There is much good advice--what to say and what not to say when someone has cancer. Lisa helped me understand the suffering of cancer patients where the treatment is almost as toxic as the disease itself.
I recommend this book for all physicians, nurses, and health care providers who treat care of cancer patients.”

—Lenny C. Husen, MD, Amazon Reviewer

“Lisa Bonchek Adams is one of the magnificent few leaving behind a truly beautiful, insightful and extremely readable account of her life and death with cancer. It is not a book to ignore—for all people—because she deals with the bittersweetness of our limited lives, fear of the unknown death and great joy in simple pleasures.

Lisa's book made a huge difference in my life, struggling with how to have a meaningful, rewarding time with a family member recently diagnosed with her cancer retuning, now metastasized stage 4. Thanks to Lisa’s refreshing, even humorous, insights into thoughts, hopes and fears, the time with my loved one was incredible . I learned to listen, to hear, to emphasize and to sympathize, rather than ignore what needed to be communicated.

With Lisa's book our movements together were precious. My eyes were open, I was enabled to connect in a meaningful way, to help. My heart is glowing, peace is within.
Thank you Lisa. Your legacy lives on.”

—Sid Crowd, Amazon Reviewer

“Lisa was an epic connector; she didn’t make friends online as much as she absorbed them whole. She let people into her world and joined theirs as well, making herself a source of comfort and advice to untold numbers who burrowed into the isolation of their computers only to find a confidante. Her sharing the fullness of her experience is part of what kept rapt a large readership: writers, cancer patients and caretakers, medical professionals among them. In the process, she harnessed the power and promise of social media such that a stay-at-home mom could force a national conversation about the marketing of cancer, dying, and dying out loud.” 

—Katie Rosman, from her obituary in the New York Times

“Sometimes a person touches your life, teaches you things you realize you never knew, and cracks your heart open to living and loving in a way you never were before. Thank you, Lisa, for being that person.” 

—Teri, blog reader

“You always know just what to say and how to say it. Your posts touch us in ways you can’t know.” 

—Erika, blog reader

“Thank you for articulating such difficult thoughts and emotions in such a remarkably clear and beautiful way.” 

—A. Meade, blog reader

“Your postings are so powerful and have come to mean so much to me. You give me insight and a sense that I am not alone.”

—Jennifer, blog reader

“Your words express what we feel but cannot put into words.”

—Darlene, blog reader

“Your reflections on life, love, loss, grief and family help me to get through my tough days.” 

—Anonymous blog reader

“You are equipping women to be braver, stronger, real and better able to face and deal with what needs to be overcome.” 

—Marci, blog reader