Death and the Elephant
By Raz Shaw
A memoir about fighting cancer and gambling
About the book
- Gambling addiction is an insidious disease that is all consuming, eats away at your insides and occupies your mind and your soul at every waking and sometimes sleeping moment.
- Cancer is an insidious disease that is all consuming, eats away at your insides and occupies your mind and your soul at every waking and sometimes sleeping moment.
It is Monday June 12th 1995. My 28th birthday. I am a lost, directionless gambling addict doing a job that is eating up every inch of any soul I had left. Tomorrow I will be diagnosed with Stage 4 sclerosing Mediastinal Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma of the large cell type.
After the diagnosis, I was far too busy trying to live each moment to the full, just in case living didn’t last that long, to imagine that out there in the future might be a 48-year-old theatre director with a story to tell.
I am Raz Shaw.
My life had been going nowhere. Until I was diagnosed with cancer.
And cancer saved my life. That is not hyperbole. It is, as far as I am concerned, a fact.
I was given the all clear from cancer in March 1996. I stopped gambling for good in April 1996. Those two truths are directly related though it took me a long time to learn quite how much and for that matter how.
After a year away recuperating. I turned my back on the highly paid telesales job that had devoured me and re-assimilated myself into the world of theatre. Re-acquainted myself with the things about that world that made me feel real, and heard and alive. And now I am ready to tell my story.
Death and the Elephant’ is a non-fiction glimpse at my experiences living through and beyond a life-threatening illness. And a gambling addiction. Then and now I had/have no ability to take life too seriously. Even in the seemingly most extreme of times.
If you can’t laugh, you can’t live. It’s the only way to make it through.
So this a book that charts my fight with cancer and gambling through a prism of perspective and irreverence. Cancer and gambling are heavyweights. They put up a helluva fight. But my chin is not made of glass and though I was knocked down many times I kept getting up to continue the battle. I am hoping this synopsis holds the only boxing metaphor in the entirety of the book. In fact, if you pledge right now I personally guarantee no more such references.
This is my story. It’s also a universal one. It’s an honest, funny, sometimes raw, often inappropriate glimpse into the life of a young man dealing with a life threatening illness in the only way he knew how. By laughing in its face.
Hi there, I hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly. I have just been looking through the unbound books for potential authors to contact to offer my professional services. But I have to say the subject matter of your book really jumped out at me more for personal reasons. It's inspiring to see how going through such an awful health related trauma had such a positive impact on your life. Very sadly I lost two friends to cancer 18 months ago both in their 30's so it is so refreshing to see that it can have a positive impact. It would be great to see your book in print as I am sure it would inspire people going through a similar health situation. My business partner and I are social media experts with strong publishing experience. Jude graduated has an MPhil in Publishing, then honed her copy writing, PR and editorial skills at Hodder and Stoughton publishing house. Her blog is also featured on Mumsnet, The Telegraph and The Huffington Post. I’m Clare and my background is marketing, I have a degree in marketing gained from Lancaster University. Together Jude and I managed the Social Media for Britain’s Next Bestseller (BNBS) a publishers that uses a crowdfunding based model to help new authors to get in print. Social media was key to their authors as this is how they generated pre-orders for their novels and won their publishing deals. Over a two-year period we managed their social media growing BNBS’s Twitter following from 0 to c5000. We also heavily promoted the individual authors’ campaigns enabling them to achieve their pre-order targets. BNBS is currently relaunching and so doesn’t have active campaigns. We believe a strong social media is the key to a successful crowdfunding publishing campaign and are approaching authors we believe have a novel/concept with real potential. Would you be interested in chatting about how we could help you? Our rates are typically £150 per month, but we are flexible according to our client’s needs. If you would like to discuss further, please let me know. Either way I really do hope you see your book in print. Many thanks Clare
Hi Clare, Thanks for your kind words about the book. I am hoping it will engage, entertain and inspire people in equal measure, whether or not you have been touched by cancer or gambling addiction. I am extremely proud to be part of Unbound's publishing revolution and am happy to say I have currently reached 75% of my target and am confident I will hit the 100% sooner rather than later. Having said that, I'd definitely be interested in talking to you more. Let me know the best way to get in touch. With best wishes Raz
Hi Raz, Just picked up on your book on our Gambling Reform and Society Perception (GRASP) forum and loved what I read so have pledged GBP 20 for a copy. You totally nail the gambling addiction feeling and life. I myself published "Overcoming Gambling' with Sheldon Press in 2010 and it's sold well ever since, so I'm sure yours will particularly with the totally new and interesting cancer suffering perspective. Happy to put a link on my website www.gamblersaloud.com if it helps you? If so send me a link. Good luck with everything and from the sound of what I read, you certainly deserve it. Best regards Phil
Phil Thanks so much for your kind words and your generosity. And congratulations on the book. I am ordering it as we speak. I can't wait. It would be so kind of you to put a link on your website. If you could link to my unbound page here plus to my Huffington Post blog that would be amazing. The link to the blog is below. Thank you so much and continued success to you. Best Raz http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/raz-shaw/cancer-versus-gambling-ve_b_11212660.html