EADT columnist's book success

MORE than 1,800 copies of EADT columnist Rhona Damant's diary have flown off the shelves - to as far a field as Australia.Sit Down and Stop Laughing charts the highs and lows of Rhona's life with terminal cancer over 18 months by bringing together her weekly columns.

MORE than 1,800 copies of EADT columnist Rhona Damant's diary have flown off the shelves - to as far a field as Australia.

Sit Down and Stop Laughing charts the highs and lows of Rhona's life with terminal cancer over 18 months by bringing together her weekly columns.

The poignant reality of the mother-of-two's experiences has captured the imaginations of people throughout the region, inspiring and informing them in equal measure.

Copies have been sent across the county as well as to York, Wales, Newcastle and Kent, to hospital cancer wards and Rhona's friends in Australia, with the sales growing as more people hear about the 44-year-old's story.


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And yesterday the Ipswich and Norwich Co-op gave the book sales a massive boost by saying it would take copies of the diary to sell in its outlets on a non-profit basis.

Rhona said: “The sales are pretty good! I was hoping it would go out of Suffolk. It's not just for Suffolk women but for everyone.”

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She is now hoping that another print run of the book, which sells at £7.99 with proceeds going to the breast cancer research charity Breakthrough, will be possible before Christmas.

The book chronicles Rhona's battle with the disease, treatments and the emotions of having cancer, and includes a foreword written by Irish pop star Ronan Keating, who lost his own mother to breast cancer.

Rhona, a former florist and flight attendant from Great Waldingfield, near Sudbury, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38 and initial treatment, including a mastectomy, appeared successful.

However, it has since spread and she is now living with secondary, inoperable tumours in her lungs, liver, brain and spine.

She explained what she thinks is the secret of the book's success: “I think that half have read it because they have had cancer, do have cancer or have got somebody close to them going through it.

“Human nature of wanting to know what happens and what it's really like to have cancer, the ups and downs, is the other half. It's the intrigue of knowing about a disease that you haven't got.

“When you say you have cancer, people think it immediately spells death and here I am in my sixth year of having cancer and two years of terminal cancer. Really I shouldn't still be here.”

She added: “It's explained as a normal mum-of-two. There isn't the medical jargon. There's none of what you get in medical books when you come to cancer. Books by celebrities also have journalistic language and they are difficult to read and understand.

“I write as I think. I think that's what has been successful with it as people feel they are talking to me.”

The Ipswich and Norwich Co-op is donating the retailer's discount it would normally be given to our Ray of Hope appeal, which aims to raise £100,000 for Breakthrough.

Miriam Harrup, communications and community manager for the company, said: “With the articles that have been running in the EADT we felt that we should do something to help. We have a large network of local stores that are ideal to get this out in the community and give more people the opportunity to buy the diary.”

Rhona's diary will be available from Monday from Co-op outlets in Ipswich at Carr Street, Belstead Hills, Pinewood, Prince of Wales Drive, Vernon Street, Meredith Road, Clapgate Lane, Rands Way, Rosehill, Springfield, Colchester Road, Penshurst Road and Old Barrack Road

Readers can also find it at the Felixstowe Homestore and in Walton Felixstowe, as well as in Woodbridge along Hasketon Road and the Thoroughfare.

Co-op outlets in Holbrook, Woolpit, Barham, Bramford, Saxmundham Road in Aldeburgh, and the Solar stores in Framlingham, Leiston, Felixstowe and Combs Ford, will also stock copies. Buyers will not be able to collect their Co-op dividend on the sale.

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