Cancer Patients Have Heroes Too

by Brian English

Many people describe those who are battling the disease as “heroes.” But the truth is, every cancer patient needs a hero of their own. Someone from whom they can draw strength and hope. Someone to look up to, to keep them going when the going gets tough.

We Can Be Heroes

After asking members of the WhatNext community who inspires them most, we found that cancer patients – people who fight a real battle every day – have different kinds of heroes than everyone else.” You won’t find athletes, actors on this list … but you’ll still find plenty of inspiration.

Here are some of the kinds of heroes that inspire cancer patients:


Naturally, the first source of inspiration for many cancer patients are those that have made the journey before them – and lived to tell the tale.

Alan Zaben I'm A Survivor

“Herman Cain was my first inspiration,” writes WhatNexter BoiseB. “I saw him on Fox News and he talked about his battle with stage IV colon cancer. That was while I was in treatment for my first cancer.”

But celebrity or notoriety is hardly a key factor. Usually, it’s just those cancer patients who learn to endure the struggle with a quiet dignity. WhatNexter banditwalker, a breast cancer patient, recalls a woman in her neighborhood.

“Out of the blue one day she told me she had been battling cancer for several years,” says banditwalker. “When I told her I was about to lose my hair, we became even closer. To watch her go through life as if nothing was wrong was a huge bump to my expectations."


While those battling cancer are often called heroes, the doctors and nurses who dedicate their lives to the fight sometimes don’t receive much recognition. But many patients are happy to acknowledge the efforts.

Not All Super Heroes Wear Capes

Generations of cancer patients are forever grateful to Sidney Farber, the father of modern chemotherapy (and namesake of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute).


Ordinary people just doing decent, thoughtful things are often huge heroes to cancer patients. WhatNexter cllinda calls her friend Karen her hero.

Hugging Bald Girl Family Support

“She would stop by with a smoothie, or just herself, and really listen,” cllinda writes. “She was my go-to person who wouldn't judge me, and would try to give me the right ideas to think about.”

Ejourneys remembers “the generosity of neighbors – one who mowed my lawn this past summer just because, and the farmer's market manager who offered to deliver my groceries to my door free of charge during treatment.”


BuckeyeShelby writes that she doesn’t “have much in the way of a ‘real world’ support system, so I depend on my What Next family.”

We were gratified to learn that WhatNexters are finding their heroes right here on our site. The fact that WhatNexters are getting strength and inspiration from one another is the primary reason that this site was founded.

What Next Survivors 1

“My heroes and inspirations are everyone here on WhatNext,” writes Ejourneys.

Lynne-I-Am agrees that coming to the site connection with other members of this community and “hearing the stories, sharing their ups and downs, celebrating their triumphs are part of my daily life.”

“I'm glad our community is there for each other,” writes BuckeyeShelby. “Even when some go back to their regular lives, new people always show up.”

Who has inspired you during your cancer journey? Write about them on the WhatNext forums – who knows, you may even become someone else’s inspiration!

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