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The ultimate recovery companion for women facing cancer.
The ultimate recovery companion for women facing cancer.
198 backers pledged $20,953 to help bring this project to life.
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'TOUGH - Women Who Survived Cancer' Essay Collection

$20,953

198

No Woman Should Have To Experience Cancer Alone

Support the publication of our TOUGH: Women Who Survived Cancer Essay Collection.

What?

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.  

Budget Breakdown 
      Transcription, Editing, Copyediting, Proofreading for 40 Essays: $10,000
      Publishing and Printing: $5,000
      Layout, Design, Outreach, Marketing: $5,000
      Distribution: $2,000
      Kickstarter and Bank Fees: $2,000
      Kickstarter Video: $500
      Unexpected: $500 

Publishing Cost Pie Chart Breakdown
Publishing Cost Pie Chart Breakdown

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!

Rewards: 

Thank you for backing this project! 

Scroll below to see what is included at each Reward Level:

Pledge $25 or more and select the "Early Access Digital Package" to receive the items above.
Pledge $25 or more and select the "Early Access Digital Package" to receive the items above.
Pledge $40 or more and select the "TOUGH FIT: Fitness Fundraiser" to receive the items above.
Pledge $40 or more and select the "TOUGH FIT: Fitness Fundraiser" to receive the items above.
Pledge $55 or more and select the "Show Me Some Swag Package" to receive your choice of design on (2) swag items above.
Pledge $55 or more and select the "Show Me Some Swag Package" to receive your choice of design on (2) swag items above.
Pledge $70 or more and select "TOUGH TOGETHER: Tell Your Story To Me" to receive the items above.
Pledge $70 or more and select "TOUGH TOGETHER: Tell Your Story To Me" to receive the items above.
Pledge $99 or more and select "Speak With the 'TOUGH' Women" to receive the items above.
Pledge $99 or more and select "Speak With the 'TOUGH' Women" to receive the items above.
 Pledge $500 or more and select the "Receive four (4) Consulting Calls with Marquina, Marketing Maven" to receive the items above.
Pledge $500 or more and select the "Receive four (4) Consulting Calls with Marquina, Marketing Maven" to receive the items above.
Pledge $1000 or more and select the "Receive Eight (8) Consulting Calls with Marquina, Marketing Maven" to receive the items above.
Pledge $1000 or more and select the "Receive Eight (8) Consulting Calls with Marquina, Marketing Maven" to receive the items above.
Pledge $3000 or more and select the "NYC Adventure Weekend Package" to receive the items above.
Pledge $3000 or more and select the "NYC Adventure Weekend Package" to receive the items above.
Pledge $10,000 or more and select the "Keynote + Air Guitar Workshop Package" to receive the items above.
Pledge $10,000 or more and select the "Keynote + Air Guitar Workshop Package" to receive the items above.

✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨

BONUS: 

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!

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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!
-Marquina

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    SUPPORTER

    We are grateful for your support of TOUGH! This will keep you in touch with the campaign. You will receive e-mail updates about this Kickstarter campaign + know the behind-the-scenes details of book creation before Launch in September.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    NO FRILLS PACKAGE, INCLUDES TOUGH (PDF)

    You don't need any frills, but you believe in this project.

    Donate $10+ for a PDF of the book. Thank you for the love! 💖🙏

    INCLUDES:
    • TOUGH Book (PDF)
    • BIG HUG + Thank you for your donation
    • Social Media Shout Out 📣

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    35 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    EARLY ACCESS DIGITAL PACKAGE

    Receive All Our Digital Rewards

    INCLUDES:
    • TOUGH Book (PDF)
    • 7 audio excerpts from our 40 interviews - YES! These stories will inspire you!
    • 4 meditation recordings - The exact recordings I used to fall asleep when worried and afraid. Includes my favorite recording that I used to stay calm while alone in the hospital during recovery.
    • 6 awesome mixtape-style playlists. My playlists that I listened to in the chemo chair! Including: Calm Connect, Rock You, Woman Power, Regulate (90s Hip Hop), Mood Boost, & Get Up and Go
    • Your name on the ShareTriumph.com Website
    • Your name in the acknowledgments of the 'TOUGH' printed book
    • Social Media Shout Out 📣

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    55 backers
    $

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    TOUGH FIT: FITNESS FUNDRAISER

    Move your body at this in-person event in celebration of National Cancer Survivor Month (June)

    • Fitness Class will be led by 2-time cancer thriver and 'TOUGH' book participant, Lauren Chiarello, Founder of Chi Chi Life (chichilifenyc.com)

    Location: Manhattan

    ➕Also INCLUDES ALL DIGITAL REWARDS:
    • TOUGH Book (PDF)
    • 7 audio excerpts from our 40 interviews
    • 4 meditation recordings
    • 6 Awesome Mixtape-style playlists
    • Your name on the ShareTriumph.com Website
    • Your name in the acknowledgments of the 'TOUGH' printed book
    • Social Media Shout Out 📣

    ➕You may DONATE at this $40 Pledge Level even if you DO NOT want the reward. When we hit the 10k Goal, I'll send a survey to confirm which of the rewards you would like to receive. THANK YOU

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    Limited 14 backers
    $

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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    SHOW ME SOME SWAG

    Choose Any Two (2) of Our Swag Items:

    • Awesome mug, canvas tote bag, earrings or necklace with your choice of design!
    • View the many designs available at: https://teechip.com/stores/sharetriumph

    ➕Also INCLUDES ALL DIGITAL REWARDS:
    • TOUGH Book (PDF)
    • 7 audio excerpts from our 40 interviews
    • 4 meditation recordings
    • 6 Awesome Mixtape-style playlists
    • Your name on the ShareTriumph.com Website
    • Your name in the acknowledgments of the 'TOUGH' printed book
    • Social Media Shout Out 📣

    ➕You may DONATE at this $55 Pledge Level even if you DO NOT want the reward. When we hit the 10k Goal, I'll send a survey to confirm which of the rewards you would like to receive. THANK YOU

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    Estimated delivery
    28 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    TOUGH TOGETHER: TELL YOUR STORY TO ME

    This is your chance to have YOUR story recorded! Be interviewed by Marquina and get your transcript to start your own book/memoir.

    Does NOT need to be cancer-related. All stories welcome! Includes:

    • Find a time for your 30-minute interview with Marquina
    • Audio + transcript for you to have as a keepsake or use to start your own memoir (AUDIO MP3 + WORD DOC)

    ➕Also INCLUDES ALL DIGITAL REWARDS:
    • TOUGH Book (PDF)
    • 7 audio excerpts from our 40 interviews
    • 4 meditation recordings
    • 6 Awesome Mixtape-style playlists
    • Your name on the ShareTriumph.com Website
    • Your name in the acknowledgments of the 'TOUGH' printed book
    • Social Media Shout Out 📣

    ➕You may DONATE at this $70 Pledge Level even if you DO NOT want the reward. When we hit the 10k Goal, I'll send a survey to confirm which of the rewards you would like to receive. THANK YOU

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    Estimated delivery
    3 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    SPEAK WITH THE AMAZING 'TOUGH' WOMEN

    Find a time to speak for 30 minutes with 2 other survivors/metastatic thrivers from the book. Visit ShareTriumph.com to preview their unique stories and triumphs! *If you personally do not need this call, this reward can be transferred to a friend.

    Includes:

    • Speak with 2 of the survivors/metastatic thrivers from the book, via Skype or Phone
    • Find a time for your 30 minute interview with Marquina
    • Audio + transcript for you to have as a keepsake or use to start your own memoir (AUDIO MP3 + WORD DOC)

    ➕Also INCLUDES ALL DIGITAL REWARDS:
    • TOUGH Book (PDF)
    • 7 audio excerpts from our 40 interviews
    • 4 meditation recordings
    • 6 Awesome Mixtape-style playlists
    • Your name on the ShareTriumph.com Website
    • Your name in the acknowledgments of the 'TOUGH' printed book
    • Social Media Shout Out 📣

    ➕You may DONATE at this $99 Pledge Level even if you DO NOT want the reward. When we hit the 10k Goal, I'll send a survey to confirm which of the rewards you would like to receive. THANK YOU

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    Estimated delivery
    8 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    GET FOUR (4) MARKETING CONSULTING CALLS

    Do you have a product to sell? A book project? A startup idea? Need Facebook Ads help?

    Receive Four (4) Consulting Calls via Skype or Phone with Marquina, Marketing Maven. Value of $1,550

    ➕Also INCLUDES ALL DIGITAL REWARDS:
    • TOUGH Book (PDF)
    • 7 audio excerpts from our 40 interviews
    • 4 meditation recordings
    • 6 Awesome Mixtape-style playlists
    • Your name on the ShareTriumph.com Website
    • Your name in the acknowledgments of the 'TOUGH' printed book
    • Social Media Shout Out 📣

    ➕You may DONATE at this $500-$1000 Pledge Level even if you DO NOT want the reward. When we hit the 10k Goal, I'll send a survey to confirm which of the rewards you would like to receive. THANK YOU

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 4 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    GET EIGHT (8) MARKETING CONSULTING CALLS

    Do you have a product to sell? A book project? A startup idea? Need Facebook Ads help?

    Receive Eight (8) Consulting Calls via Skype or Phone with Marquina, Marketing Maven. Value of $3,100

    ➕Also INCLUDES ALL DIGITAL REWARDS:
    • TOUGH Book (PDF)
    • 7 audio excerpts from our 40 interviews
    • 4 meditation recordings
    • 6 Awesome Mixtape-style playlists
    • Your name on the ShareTriumph.com Website
    • Your name in the acknowledgments of the 'TOUGH' printed book
    • Social Media Shout Out 📣

    ➕You may DONATE at this $1000-$3000 Pledge Level even if you DO NOT want the reward. When we hit the 10k Goal, I'll send a survey to confirm which of the rewards you would like to receive. THANK YOU

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 4 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    NYC ADVENTURE WEEKEND

    For a megadose of fun! Fly out for a FULL DAY of the best NYC has to offer. I'll take you out on a behind-the-scenes adventure. Airfare to NYC and housing *not* included. Choose 4 things to do:

    • Exclusive [Behind-The-Scenes Tour] of the MET Museum for (max) 5 ppl
    • GLAM it up together at my fave Salon 💖
    • Walk the elevated 'High-Line'
    • Visit the famous STRAND Bookstore
    • Shopping in the Meatpacking & Soho Districts
    • Eat at my fave 'secret' restaurant where I once bartended!
    • End with Karaoke + Air Guitar at my fave Karaoke bar

    ➕Also INCLUDES ALL DIGITAL REWARDS:
    • TOUGH Book (PDF)
    • 7 audio excerpts from our 40 interviews
    • 4 meditation recordings
    • 6 Awesome Mixtape-style playlists
    • Your name on the ShareTriumph.com Website
    • Your name in the acknowledgments of the 'TOUGH' printed book
    • Social Media Shout Out 📣

    ➕You may DONATE at this $3000 Pledge Level even if you DO NOT want the reward. When we hit the 10k Goal, I'll send a survey so you can choose your rewards

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    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    KEYNOTE, AIR GUITAR WORKSHOP, GIFTS

    Includes:
    • A one-hour keynote speaking session with TEDx speaker Marquina Iliev-Piselli at your organization.
    • A HOW TO AIR GUITAR INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP with TEDx speaker Marquina Iliev-Piselli at your organization.
    • Date to be agreed upon. If outside of the United States, travel and accommodations not included in the cost.
    • One hundred (100) hardcover copies of TOUGH.

    ➕Also INCLUDES ALL DIGITAL REWARDS:
    • TOUGH Book (PDF)
    • 7 audio excerpts from our 40 interviews
    • 4 meditation recordings
    • 6 Awesome Mixtape-style playlists
    • Your name on the ShareTriumph.com Website
    • Your name in the acknowledgments of the 'TOUGH' printed book
    • Social Media Shout Out 📣

    ➕You may DONATE at this $10,000 Pledge Level even if you DO NOT want the reward. When we hit the 10k Goal, I'll send a survey to confirm which of the rewards you would like to receive. THANK YOU

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)