KEVIN Haugh, the West Clare-born author of An Imperfect Storm, is a cancer survivor. His book is compelling reading for anyone but particularly those who have had a cancer diagnosis or are close to someone who has suffered from cancer.
Kevin’s book is not a medical text book, neither does it proclaim to be a self-help tome or an advisory text on “how to live with cancer”.
It is an honest account of Kevin’s life before, during and after he was unexpectedly diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The book portrays the changes that diagnosis imposed on his family, brought to his home and inflicted on his relationships.
Kevin was a man at war with cancer. It is this fighting spirit and his inherent will to defeat the disease that stand out most in the book. At his oncologist’s suggestion, he began to keep a diary to help him focus and that diary became his book.
A retired principal of Galvone National School in Limerick City since 2010, Kevin is now, among other things, a contract supervisor of teaching practice at Mary Immaculate College of Education, Limerick and co-ordinator of the Clare and Limerick Education Centres’ Annual Education Research Conferences. He has had academic papers published before both in this country and abroad but this is his first book.
In his foreword, Professor Rajnish K Gupta, consultant medical oncologist and director of cancer services at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, sees great value in the book, as it gives doctors and those who work with cancer patients a first-hand account of the patient experience.
“This book, Dr Haugh’s first, is a raw reflection of life, including the interference of the medical profession. It reveals aspects of our existence that many of us, including those who work in the health service, are unaware of, despite the unique patient-doctor relationship.”
Professor Gupta will participate in the book launch on September 16 in the George Boutique Hotel in Limerick, and Clare hurling legend Ger Loughnane will officially launch the book.
Ger has triumphed in his own battle against leukaemia. He is of the opinion that while it’s good to be mindful,
“If you get an illness and you get the treatment for it, you just can’t spend your time living in the shadow of it”. Kevin has taken a similar approach.
In the acknowledgements section of the book, Kevin attributes credit to his editor, Trióna Marren-O’Grady from Newmarket-on-Fergus. The pair spent long hours agonising over the details.
“It was a pleasure to work with Trióna, as she immediately came on board, shared my vision for the book and shouldered the professional responsibility of getting it to the printing press in great shape.”
When asked what his next project might be, Kevin is philosophical. “I don’t have a bucket list, or a list of things to do in life. I am too busy living. I consider myself lucky. I was diagnosed in 2004 and was gifted so many additional years of life when I consider those who had a much shorter journey with cancer.
“This project has been a rollercoaster ride – my wife, Mary; my sons, Brian and Ronan, and Buddy, my dog, will all attest to that. Without the support and patience of my family, Buddy’s unfailing companionship and the perseverance and professional expertise of my editor, this book would never have reached the publisher but I’m very glad that it did. If it helps just one other person, it will all have been worth it.”
An Imperfect Storm will be available in bookshops. Published in Kildare by Outside the Box Learning Resources, all author royalties from An Imperfect Storm will go to the Mid-Western Cancer Foundation, founded by Professor Gupta.
The foundation works to streamline donations and provide holistic care for patients with cancer in the Mid-West region, in addition to ongoing research support. To find out more, visit www.mwcf.ie.