I Was Picked: The John Challis Story

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Member Reviews

OMG, this was... I don't have words!
Emotional!  Inspirational!  Powerful!  Meaningful!  Heartbreaking! ... ... ... WOW! 

What I will remember from this is stop complaining about nothing, about little things, keep positive, do good, keep going until the end.  Things happen, if you can't do anything about it just keep going, be positive, you're not dead yet.  You've only got one shot at life, live it, don't waste it!  
What a lesson!  John was so strong!   If he was still around I would have wanted to hug him and thank him!

Everybody should read this! 

Thank you for allowing me to read and review this amazing, well written, book!
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This short book tells the story of John Challis. It is unusual in that John had already passed away before it was written so we never get a first hand account of this journey from him. However the words of every life he touched, particularly after his diagnosis, tell us so much about him. John lived a small life in a small town but had such a large impact on people everywhere. The support of his family and community were outstanding which really showed what a mighty person John Challis was.
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Thanks to Netgalley for my copy.

This is the true story of a teenage boy diagnosed with liver and lung cancer. John believed in Courage + Believe = Life. This is an emotional book with details of John's diagnosis and his treatment and subsequent death. There are wonderful contributions from his family, friends and many people John touched in his life.
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Given to me by netgalley. I have learned a lot from this story. JOHN CHALLIS was an exceptional human being. May he rest in peace. Kind, loving, unselfish being... His story and his message live on : Courage + Believe = Life.
@netgalleyreview @grateful @thankyou
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I Was Picked: The John Challis Story by Howard Shapiro is a book I requested from NetGalley and the review is voluntary. This is a touching and remarkable story of a boy that is given months to love at the age of 16. He has a strong desire to achieve a diploma from high school with his friends with is two years away. Through lots of treatments, love, endorsement, and friendship this 18 year old made it to get his diploma! Very touching story with pictures, letters from friends, family, and himself at the end of the book. This really gets personal about what it was like for him and the family.
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A very emotional and heartbreaking story. This story tore my heart out and I was made to feel every emotion that the victim went through. Such a powerful book. Truly inspirational.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book.   Highly recommended read!   Thanks for providing through Net Galley.  Five Stars *****
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WHAT AN AMAZING BOOK TO READ, HOW JOHN CHALLIS LOST HIS BATTLE WITH LIVER CANCER AT 18 BUT  HAD AN INCREDIBLE EFFECT ON PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. HE SHOWED COURAGE, DETERMINATION A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TO LIFE AND A MESSAGE TO EVERYONE WHO HAS THIS DISEASE. STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF, GET ON WITH LIFE,
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I’m afraid I just couldn’t get into this book. I’ve researched John Challis and he was clearly a remarkable young man who touched the lives of so many people and who was brave and strong until the end. However, when reading this book, I didn’t get a sense of the emotion that a book like this should stir up (especially to someone who has also been through cancer). It felt more detached and like a collection of individual memories rather then the story of John’s life. Such a shame as John’s story is one of courage and positivity.
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A heart-achingly beautiful book telling the story of one of life's true heroes.
I went into this book with no idea what to expect, as I had never heard anything about the John Challis story before, and I finished this book in tears wondering why everyone in the world hasn't heard about the John Challis story.
An incredibly brave & resilient young man who met every thing that was thrown at him head on with a grace and perseverance and attitude of one well beyond his years.  This young man was truly incredible.
I will be honest, I cried most of my way through this amazing story, so I would say it is not one to read in public, but I was also so compelled that I read it in one sitting at home.
Everyone needs to read this book.
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Some background. I work as a bio-engineer in a histopathology laboratory in a teaching hospital. It's a large hospital, with many thousands of biopsies and tests going through our department every year. I'm a very small cog in a big productive machine, but every single day I'm at work, my colleagues and I see biopsies and every one of them has a story. We don't have direct patient contact, of course, but we understand and never forget that there's a patient (and family) behind every test we run and everything we analyze.

The book begins with an introduction and short early biography of John and his family. From a tough early infancy (they thought he had cystic fibrosis) and surgery, John turned into a normal and active kid. He participated in sports, he went to school, he lived his life up until age 16. Nobody expected his cancer diagnosis, terminal liver cancer with lung metastasis.

Most of the book is written about the time after his diagnosis. It's about how he and his family reacted, how his teammates and people in the community reacted and the people he touched in his 2 year cancer battle. The picture album in the middle of the book is especially poignant.

This story puts a very human face on cancer. It's honestly and powerfully written and the author never lets his words steal the emphasis from John and his family's story. None of us know how long we have or what's going to happen. The only thing we have control over is how we interact with our situation and the people around us. Even though he died at 18, John had dignity and humor and grace which belied his age.

John Challis was very real to me. I could feel his personality and sadness and compassion and humor and anger. It's an emotional and raw book, especially for me personally because I grew up in the area and know so many of the places written about in the book.

The author, Howard Shapiro, worked closely with John's family and friends to research and write this book. It's a book that will stay with me for a very long time.

“If I’m mad at anything in this, it’s that I’m not going to be able to have a son, I’m not going to be able to get married and have my own house. Those are the things I’m mad about. But not dying.”
—John Challis


Five stars, so gracefully written.
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[Link goes live on October 18th, 2017 at 5pm PST]

John was only in high school when he was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer. He fought back with a vengeance through sports and by spreading his message of courage and hope. This book contains photos of John's journey as well as excerpts from interviews with his family and friends. Shapiro clearly segments each section, grouping interviews and data points together by theme. He conducted an incredible amount of research. 

Even though I'm not the target audience, there is something about John's message that applies to everyone. He reminds us that life is short. And through this book, he also urges us to live life to the fullest.
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what an inspiration. I feel as though that is such a cliche saying,  but it fits, especially after reading this book. Thank you for sharing this story of a young man who refused to allow a terminal diagnosis to stop him.
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I was picked: The John Challis story is a heart breaking account of a young mans struggle with cancer and how despite the odds he lived his life to its full extent and the love and care of his family and friends. John lived by the motto Courage + Belief = Life and this book tries to do justice to everything he (and his family) went through and the ways he went about assisting others while he fought for his life. A heart breaking story showing the young mans courage and faith. Well written.
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Superb. It is so sad to see a child be diagnosed with such a debilitating disease. This could be my youngest son, who is 19 at the time I am writing this. It is with such grace and dignity that this young man dealt with his cancer. I do not know why the term "fight" is attached to cancer. It is like any other disease and we seek treatment and learn to cope with the new limits we have to face as our bodies slowly change and submit to the disease that there truly isn't a chance of beating. Coming to terms with the fact that death looms on the horizon has to be one of the most horrific things we can face and this young man, as well as many other young children, are a true inspiration and extremely humbling. When my time comes I hope I am half as brave as this young man was, and I wish I could just hug his family and let them know them know his story touched me and that I will help keep his memory alive.             An extremely emotional story, get your Kleenex ready.
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