Project name: Storytelling and creative writing project
Participants: Younger adults (aged approximately 25 – 45) living with secondary cancer
Lead artist: Seren Haf Grime
Together we created an anthology of pieces entitled Staying Alive – a Book of Hope, sharing our experiences through creative writing to offer strength, wisdom and tenacity. It was launched on Friday 3 February 2023 at St David’s Hospice, Newport.
Younger adults living with cancer are often juggling young families, taking care of their homes and relationships whilst receiving chemotherapy and ongoing maintenance treatments for their long term illness.
Often they have needed to give up their career temporarily or permanently due to the physical or psychological impacts of cancer and, more recently, the requirement to shield as a vulnerable person during the pandemic.
Six monthly workshops offered an opportunity to explore common themes through words; a story; excerpt from a play,
poem or song lyrics which express what it is like facing death, fearing the unknown, noticing the changes in our body, and planning our future.
There were opportunities to work alone, in pairs, to share our writing, and ultimately to collate it into a book. Staying Alive – a Book of Hope will be made available for young adults at point of diagnosis or news of further treatment but also serves as a lesson for the wider public on how to cope with these themes.
Seren Haf Grime worked as a Dramatherapist in the NHS for ten years, utilizing the power of story to heal and empower diverse clients with a range or presentations. Seren is a co-founder and performer with The Golden Thread playback theatre company. Playback is a form of improvised, devised theatre which utilises metaphor, story, poetry and music to tell the stories of communities without a voice.
In 2018, Seren was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at the age of 36 and spent much of the pandemic shielding with a young child as a single parent.