No Woman Should Have To Experience Cancer Alone
Support the publication of our TOUGH: Women Who Survived Cancer Essay Collection.
TOUGH: Women Who Survived Cancer is the ultimate recovery companion for women facing any type of cancer.
This book is for newly-diagnosed women, survivors, thrivers, & the people who love them.
Working from interviews with 40 women with a variety of cancer types, Iliev-Piselli, a survivor herself, has created honest and triumphant essays that will lift readers up like a conversation with good friends (if all your friends had survived cancer!).
During life's most difficult moments, these women found joy in creative pursuits as diverse as they are, including writing, stand up comedy, drawing, air guitar, and many more.
Get ready for honest, inspiring, uplifting, rock-n-rolling, gut-wrenching, heart-pounding, chemo-brain-fueled tales about cancer and its aftermath.
Contributing Authors: 2-Time Hodgkin's Lymphoma survivor Lauren Chiarello (South Salem, New York), Breast Cancer survivor Tiffany Dyba (New York City, New York), Breast Cancer survivor Emily Strong (Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota), Breast Cancer survivor Barbara Muller (San Antonio, Texas), Melanoma survivor Elana Schwam (Cambridge, Massachusetts), BRCA+ Breast Cancer survivor Jordana Bales (New York City, New York), Breast Cancer survivor Shelly Vaughn (Monroe Falls, Ohio), Breast Cancer survivor Molly Young (Baltimore, Maryland), Childhood Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor Ali Shapiro (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Thyroid Cancer survivor Vanessa Steil (Huntington, New York), Breast Cancer survivor Kate Hust (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Brain cancer thriver Katie Smith (Wilmington, Delaware), Breast Cancer thriver Emily Garnett (Mount Kisco, New York), BRCA+ Breast Cancer survivor Tamika Partridge (Atlanta, Georgia), Breast Cancer while pregnant survivor Jenn Korican (Dexter, Michigan), Peripheral T-cell Lymphoma thriver Ava Golchin (Ames, Iowa), Breast Cancer survivor Eileen Danial (St. Clair Shores, Michigan), Breast Cancer survivor Andrea Griffiths (Bradenton, Florida), Breast Cancer survivor Kate Zickel (Alexandria, Virginia), 4-Time Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma thriver Jackie P. (Mississippi), Brain Cancer thriver Gina Cortese (Cleveland, Ohio), Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma + Hodgkin's Lymphoma survivor Gaby Espinoza (Moreno Valley, California), Breast Cancer survivor Alex Pochna (New York City, New York), 2-Time Leukemia survivor Rosalinda Macias (Chesapeake, Virginia), Leukemia APML/APL survivor Leslie Tysseling (Murrieta, California ), Endometrial Cancer survivor Ardith Tom (Gallup, New Mexico), Breast Cancer survivor Maimah Karmo (Aldie, Virginia), 2-Time Breast Cancer thriver Robin Glazer (New York City, New York), Brain Cancer thriver Nichole Wouters (Macomb, Michigan), Breast Cancer survivor Dorkys Ramos (New York City, New York), Colorectal Cancer survivor Pat Bodenhamer (Paragould, Arkansas), Throat Cancer survivor Hannah Wright (Shelbyville, Kentucky), Lung Cancer survivor Jenna Gibson (Sterling Heights, Michigan), Lung Cancer survivor Eveann Frasier (Wilmington, Delaware), Breast Cancer survivor Tami Langenright (Milan, Michigan), Sinus Cancer thriver Eden Bertrang (Brooklyn, New York), BRCA+ Breast Cancer survivor Josephine Guzman (Phoenix, Arizona), Bone and Blood Cancer thriver Francesca Giovannetti/Dials (Lubbock, Texas), Breast Cancer survivor Laleh (New York), and Breast Cancer survivor Yoko Katz (Westchester County, New York)
Cover Illustration: Tabi Walters
Cover Design: Matt Davies
Editor: Sara Grace
Copyediting: Dave Fischer, Clare Gailey
Interviewer and Story Collector: Marquina Iliev-Piselli
Kickstarter Video: Dennis Cahlo
Coloring Book Illustration: Dorkys Ramos, Breast Cancer survivor + TOUGH book participant
My Survivor Story
Hi, My name is Marquina. I'm a wife, digital marketer, breast cancer survivor, competitive air guitarist, insufferable karaoke singer, and the creator of TOUGH.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2015, my picture of myself as a healthy, active young mother who had big dreams for the future was shattered. Intense anger and often-crippling fear caused me to turn inward.
I felt isolated and alone.
Cancer changed me in fundamental ways; Regardless of how I might look on the outside, inside I’ll never be the same. Back then I wondered: How can I get through this? …And even now that I’m in remission, What lies ahead?
During my year of treatment, I found my way by diving into a longtime hobby and passion...competitive air guitar! Air guitar is a pretend guitar-playing performance - mixed in with a healthy dash of wit and sense of humor.
Over the years I developed a close network of powerhouse women – the Women of Air Guitar are a part of that. They were the first group I told about my cancer. They encouraged me to face the disease in my own way. That summer after my diagnosis, even though I was exhausted, scarred, and in the middle of radiation treatment — I chose to compete. A few months after my mastectomy and during radiation treatment, I took my half-bald, half-burned self to the stage — and won 1st place.
Why? The Birth of a Book
Each year, an estimated 1.7 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people will die from the disease… and yet, when I searched online, I found very few resources that showed the personal and emotional journey of women who, like me, have been diagnosed with cancer.
The essay collection TOUGH started because of conversations that I had with survivor-friends. One women began quilting, another created lip sync videos, another started cycling, some created charcoal drawings, some started nonprofits, one a music festival. Others turned to gardening, art, ultimate frizbee, volleyball, singing, running, volunteering, party planning…the list goes on.
I created TOUGH: Women Who Survived Cancer to showcase the small steps that lead us on our path back to joy.
Women at any stage of diagnosis and treatment can read TOUGH and have a window into a future that is more hopeful than where they are today.
Our stories are compelling, but don't take our word for it. Our photos, essays, and personal accounts of survival have appeared most-recently at TEDx Columbia University as well as in a number of national outlets including:
Book Publishing Goals
It will cost $10,000 to finish transcription, editing, copyediting, and proofreading for the main content in this book.
When edits are complete, there are additional printing, art, and distribution goals.
With this campaign, I am raising $10,000 to fund the completion of our editing work (developmental edits, copy edits, formatting).
Let's get this book content done + ready!
In total, it will take $25,000 to finish all aspects of the editing, publishing, printing, marketing, and distribution.
Below are my actual costs for self-publishing this book.
Transcription, Editing, Copyediting, Proofreading for 40 Essays: $10,000
Publishing and Printing: $5,000
Layout, Design, Outreach, Marketing: $5,000
Kickstarter and Bank Fees: $2,000
Kickstarter Video: $500
For all the nitty-gritty on what it takes to get this book 'in the wild' check out my blog: https://authorpreneurlaunch.com/blog
Back this project today so we can get these inspiring, untold stories into the hands of as many survivors and metastatic thrivers as possible.
Special Thanks: Big props to my hubs, the awesome Dan Piselli, and my sweetest-heart son, Lorenzo. To my parents, Patti and Simeon Iliev, who have always given me a solid foundation so that I may think bigger. To the many friends from near and far that help me have the confidence to go out on a limb and create fun projects. You know who you are and I love you with all my heart. Thank you for letting me express my true self ~ and being totally okay with it ~ YOU ROCK!
Thank you for backing this project!
Scroll below to see what is included at each Reward Level:
STRETCH GOAL!!! If we raise $25,000 I'll send everyone: The TOUGH Coloring Book
I'm excited about the TOUGH Coloring Book! As you may know, researchers and art therapists have long touted calming benefits to adult coloring. A great mental health alternative to yoga, it has the therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus, and expand mindfulness.
The TOUGH Coloring Book includes 17 survivor-created images that invite you into hours of cathartic fun and creative expression. Join fellow cancer survivors who are exploring the intersection of art, peace, and healing through coloring! My favorite pages are the Air Guitaring Ibex and Iguana!
Risks and challenges
Risks and challenges related to this project are, in short, if I can't raise the minimum 10k I will not be able to turn the incredible essays into the book they are meant to be.
I do *not* want to let these survivors and thrivers down! We know these stories are the balm to the heart & soul that every newly-diagnosed woman with cancer needs.
Once funded, there are some timing challenges to complete the content and layout as quickly as possible.
The projected publishing date is Tuesday, September 10th, 2019.
You are invited to the Book Launch party on Saturday, September 21st in Brooklyn, NY. Woot Woot!
If funded, I have a strong plan and team in place to hit these targets.
Let's do this!
- (30 days)