When cancer strikes, almost every family is caught unaware. Meet the Hurles family, whose matriarch, Leilani Essary Hurles, has fought the battle of her life . . . and wrote about it in laugh-out-loud moments.
As a self-avowed Texas girl, Leilani Essary Hurles didn’t plan to write a book. During her hospital stay for ovarian cancer treatments she was inundated with prayers and inquiries from concerned family and friends. Her daughter, Lani, fielded the calls and suggested her mother write “Monday Updates” to keep everyone informed. From those email updates, which were often hilarious, sprang a book, Ride Baby Ride: Your Courage to Overcome Ovarian Cancer and Life’s Adversities.
A Positive Outlook
Hilarity and cancer? Yes, belly-laughs can help win the battle, and battles do not have to be depressing. Along with the zany insights into hospital life and funny family moments, Leilani had her family and friends — and now her readers — in stitches. For instance, Leilani’s 98-year-old father Oved — or Magoo as he is fondly nicknamed —
lives with Leilani and her husband, Bill. “Just keeping up with Magoo as he floods his handicap-equipped shower stall, drenching our Dachshund, makes me laugh.” She and Bill blended her three kids and his three kids into a unit complete with eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. “You can imagine the antics,” says Leilani.
Determination and Hope
“I had no idea that my Monday Update emails would touch a chord and go viral,” says Leilani. “People forwarded them on until they had circulated around the world, being read by prayer groups all over the place.” Her book is a natural segue from email diaries to a full-blown, real account drama in novel form (or rather, sit-com) about an ovarian cancer crisis.
“God has a plan and my job is not to challenge it, but feed from it and figure out what He is trying to tell me. It’s like crop circles. No one can explain them, but they are there. And heaven knows no one can explain me!”
Life Prepared Her
As a retired teacher, coach, mother, wife, author, horse-and-dog owner, and stage three recurring ovarian cancer survivor, Leilani’s focus, really, is to uplift those who need a big hug. “Talking about ovarian cancer honestly — including the embarrassing moments in hospital gowns in front of crowds of doctors — means I can share the journey through my own personal lens of humor. I’m not necessarily brave. It’s just my nature to laugh at life, and, like Reader’s Digest says, Laughter is the Best Medicine. It helps to have faith, family and friends. And Magoo.
Support systems are invaluable, and Leilani has that in abundance. She and her husband, Bill, have a combined household of six kids, eight grandkids and four great-grandkids — much like a modern day Brady Bunch. During family gatherings, Magoo enjoys being one of four generations that mingle and fellowship. Read about their antics and more on the the fight against ovarian cancer at www.ridebabyridebook.com.
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