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Comparison Project event to feature stories of cancer survivors

Two cancer survivors will share their stories of survivorship and caregiving during a special event hosted by Above + Beyond Cancer and The Comparison Project at Drake University.

“Above + Beyond Cancer’s Journey to the High Himalaya: Creative Nonfiction Narratives of Recovery, Discovery, and Advocacy,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, in the Cowles Library Reading Room on Drake’s campus.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature the stories of cancer survivors Ruth Bachman and Andy Fleming. They will read from creative nonfiction narratives inspired by a recent trek through the High Himalaya with Above + Beyond Cancer, a public charity with a mission to reduce the burden of cancer across the globe.

The organization, led by Mercy Medical Center oncologist Dr. Richard Deming, took a three-week hiking trip with 19 cancer survivors and 17 supporters in October 2012. The climbers, including Drake University Visiting Professor of English Yasmina Madden, reached the 20,000-foot summit of Imja Tse, a mountain near Mt. Everest.

One of the goals of Above + Beyond Cancer is to help participants who have journeyed with the foundation turn their experiences with cancer—and beyond cancer—into stories that help educate and advocate. Madden and Drake have partnered with the organization in a community writing project that helps create and promote members’ narratives through a series of writing workshops, community readings, a collection of team narratives, and, eventually, a published anthology of essays by Above + Beyond Cancer participants about the nature of survivorship and caregiving.

The Comparison Project at Drake University, which is hosting the March 7 event, is an experimental effort in a philosophy of religion that is historically grounded and religiously diverse. It is generously supported by the Drake University Humanities Center, Humanities Iowa, the Medbury Fund, the Drake University Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship, the Des Moines Area Religious Council, and Cultivating Compassion: The Richard Deming Foundation.

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