The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club – Josie Lloyd

Published by: HQ
Pages: 431
Date released: 25/06/2020
Date read: 26/05/2021

Sometimes we find friendship in the most unexpected of places…

When Keira receives her breast cancer diagnosis, she doesn’t want to have to tell her children or her husband Tom, and she doesn’t want to step back from work. She doesn’t want to sit in a hospital and stare mortality in the face, nor be a part of a group of fellow cancer sufferers. Cancer is not her club.

But, as she is forced to accept everything must change and her health becomes something she can’t rely on, Keira finds herself embracing running. Hot, sweaty running in the company of a group of brilliant, funny women each going through treatment.

One step at a time, Keira is going to reclaim something. Her family, her business, her life.

Moving and uplifting, this is a novel about love, family and the power of finding your tribe.

I’ve read an umber of cancer-themed books, both fictional and non-fictional, and they do tend to be more on the morbid side than the uplifting. And I suppose there’s a reason for that. Cancer is shit. Whether you are personally going through it or watching a loved one go through it (my Dad), it is shit. So it makes sense that writing about it would be equally shit (in theme, not in writing ability).

But this is where The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club differs. Yes, it follows Keira after her breast cancer diagnosis; yes it follows mastectomies and other surgeries; yes it follows chemotherapy and radiotherapy; yes we see a large amount of cancer patients; yes we even see death. But something, Josie Lloyd has managed to make it uplifting and entertaining. It’s almost not a book about cancer at all. It’s a lovely book about the importance of friendships and relationships, and the cancer diagnosis almost takes a backseat. And I think that’s a brave way to write about it. Obviously, Josie has gone through her own cancer story, so she knows what it is like to experience firsthand. In my experience, it is difficult to stop cancer becoming your main thought of every minute of every hour of every day for however long the journey goes on for (9 months in my experience). So, for Josie to explore the positives surrounding cancer is so uplifting. It may feel like your life stops with a cancer diagnosis, but life still has to go on. You still need to go to work (unless you’re incredibly lucky), the kids still need to go to school, dinner still needs to be cooked, and sadly the house still needs to be hoovered. None of this goes away.

The main thing I will take away from this book is that it is not necessarily the things you do that helps you through your tough times, but who you do them with. Yes, the main crux of this story is a group of cancer patients forming a running club. But I don’t necessarily think it’s the running itself that helps them. It’s the friendships they make along the way and the knowing you are not alone.

There were points in this book that hit a bit close to home, but it never made me feel sad. It made me think of my dad (who we lost in 2017) and his cancer story in such a warm and positive way. And going through something like this makes you recognise every day for what it is: a gift. And we must learn to treasure it.

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