They Say


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Rosie Jackson B.A., D.Phil, Author & creative writing workshop leader (Her memoir, The Glass Mother, will be published in 2016)

 

“When I read Sophie’s blog, I get the same wake-up call to my soul as when I read Rumi’s poetry. Her words burn away all that doesn’t matter, and keep me poised on the threshold of life, where I’m forced to remember the mystery and preciousness of what can disappear.

This is wisdom from a huge, generous heart and formidable intelligence, saying yes to joy and pain equally, ruthlessly honest, dauntingly brave and funny. And the writing itself is beautiful: shockingly exuberant, full of searing insights, stunning metaphors, reversals of traditional readings of the ‘meaning’ of cancer, and a teasing out of an underlying prolific love. If this isn’t the voice of a soul on purpose, fulfilling its human and divine role, I don’t know what is.”


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Professor Bill Torbert, Creator of Action Inquiry

“Sophie Sabbage is a human being who is extraordinarily attuned to the many layers of whatever is going on at the moment. She is also extraordinarily capable of listening and speaking into business, political, or family situations in transforming ways… and is a truly gifted and riveting writer as well.

Crises – such as her current struggle with cancer – concentrate her attention and highlight her dynamic insight and piercing humility. Her blog about her engagement with cancer can be a stunning eye-opener for thousands and thousands as our global culture begins to learn new ways of becoming more lively then ever in the face of death.”


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Robin Daly, Founder of Yes To Life cancer charity

“A colleague recently prompted me to look at Sophie Sabbage’s provocatively titled blog, ‘My Journey of Wellness with Terminal Illness’. Apart from being an extraordinary story of a resourceful woman’s response to a devastating cancer diagnosis, the writing itself is utterly compelling. Her piece entitled ‘My Beautiful Brain’ instantly drew me into her world, affording me a glimpse of the markedly different terrain a person with cancer is navigating, and painting a picture, at once terrifying, heart rending… and beautiful.

Sophie clearly has an extraordinary gift for communicating her experience, a gift that people with cancer, as well as the rest of us, can benefit from in understanding the existential forces at work and in empathising with the immense difficulties being faced by thousands every day. By allowing herself to experience the full force of the responses at work within her, she gains insights that we can all share in, such us the necessity of just such an acceptance of emotional response if we are to navigate our way forward through the many life-and-death decisions that often await us in the alien world of cancer authentically and with autonomy. She reports back to us from her perilous journey, using the words of her loved teacher, ‘I’ve been to the bottom, and it’s firm’.

We must be grateful that there are courageous explorer-storytellers like Sophie who are prepared to go to ‘the bottom’ and send back the assurance that it really is firm, and that there are completely unexpected ways we can walk out of there and into a very different kind of life.”


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Jerome Burne, medical journalist and editor of Health Insight UK

 

“A few months ago a friend offered to introduce me to Sophie Sabbage who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was writing a blog about it. He suggested asking if she would be prepared to write a post for HealthinsightUK. It was just after Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovations Bill had failed to pass so I asked her to write about how it had affected her.

I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was nothing like what arrived a few days later. As I read it my attention shifted from the usual editor’s structural concerns – the intro doesn’t catch my attention, that section should come a bit later, could explain that idea more clearly – and I became totally caught up in the piece.

Her prose was direct and clear, passionate and engaging. The post could have been a rehash of the arguments – doctors claiming the bill would expose patients to worthless treatments, patients saying we should have the right to choose.


But Sophie combined a clear analysis of the arguments with fiercely honest account of its impact on her own life. The bill was supposed to save her from false hope, she wrote, but how could hope be false? It was by its nature uncertain. Any form could not be worse than the certain death she was facing.


Then she moved from straightforward debate to an uplifting account of her own hopes. ‘I hope to be as boldly, brilliantly alive as possible when I walk upon this earth. Hope is how I know I am alive.’


I hope her distinctive, intelligent and very moving voice is heard as widely as possible for as long as possible.”