24 year-old Karen Bugingo is a cancer survivor who, at the age of 19, was diagnosed with severe lymphoma (cancer) in her blood. As a result she wrote a book ‘My name is Life’, a story that tells about the struggles as a cancer patient until her recovery process. She talked to Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa about her battle against the killer disease and why she chose to share her story.
What inspired the book?
I wrote this book to emphasize reality of cancer in my country and elsewhere because the level of awareness is still low. I wanted to give back to the community, especially by helping the youth become aware of the killer cancer through writing.
I did not know of a cancer survivor that I would look up to but I kept a positive attitude towards my situation. My intention is to bring awareness and encouragement to people fighting and those who have their loved ones suffering cancer.
Give us a sneak peek into your book
It’s about an illness that I was carrying. It tells of the fear of the unknown experience that I had never heard or seen for a while. I had the fear of having cancer and its effects like hair falling off. This is a story of how everything came crushing before my face and the reality of what happened to me.
Although the highlight of my book is about my experience as a cancer survivor, it is with cause and not to terrify people. ‘My name is life’ is my life story where I also talk about my life before cancer.
My target is the youth between 18-35, to give them hope that there is better future after a downfall. The emotional struggle is not easy for cancer patients but my book will be there to help. I want to be able to sell the book all around Rwanda, Africa and even beyond in Europe and America.
There are so many ways you can tell your story, why did you choose to write a book?
Writing is my passion and I did a book as something that I could relate to writing. I found myself telling my story through writing because I speak out loud when I’m writing.
Tell us about your Christian blog
At first I was a lifestyle blogge and I would always find myself drawn to talk about my faith. When I continued writing, I found myself drawn to talking about my faith, so I blogged about my belief and faith. I have a couple of followers, although my blog is currently on hold because I am focusing on my book.
It’s really important to share your story no matter how one thinks of it as trivial. You never know who might be changed by your story. I think that every story is worth telling and I would encourage every youth to develop a culture of telling their own stories.