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Ian's Story On Stage



Book Reviews for "Together We Will Win - What Happens When We Don't Talk About Testicular Cancer: A Young Man's Story"

Kirkus Discoveries Review

    A mother's poignant memoir of disease and loss is also a moving call-to-arms in the fight to prevent a curable form of cancer.

    Perhaps the most valuable part of Together We Will Win is a brief, appendix-like last chapter that lists the early-warning signs for testicular cancer, the most common cancer among men ages 14-45. The chapter also provides instructions for doing a testicular self-exam, the best means of detecting the disease in its earliest stages. McWhirt gives readers this information because the book is the true-life story of her son Ian's struggle with testicular cancer. The vibrant young man is thrust into a battle for his life by one abnormal cell. That one cell--- which will multiply into billions--- is the beginning of a cancer that will ultimately take Ian's life. The book recounts the story of his painful descent. The author is a talented writer and tells her son's story in surprisingly measured prose, mostly by channeling Ian's voice in the first-person. This is a risky gamble, but it pays off, and the account is personal, relatable and compelling. We are with Ian when he first notices but ignores the small lumps in his scrotum. Then, McWhirt takes us into the room when Ian is diagnosed, when he receives chemotherapy and, sadly, when he dies. These scenes are not meant to be bathetic or melodramatic. The author tells her wrenching story as a journalist would, and her main goal is not to pull heartstrings, though she does. Her purpose is to inform and to explain, in the hope that others can be spared her son's fate. Her prose is therefore the most powerful kind of writing--- the kind that can save lives.

    A powerful, educational cautionary tale.

    -Kirkus Discoveries
     March 15,2010 

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Literary Blog Reader Review


Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Together We Will Win by Karen A. McWhirt

As a child, I used to get junk mail all the time. Having one of those ambidextrous names, you'd be amazed at the sort of mail I'd receive. I've always remembered quite clearly receiving mail that requested of me to have my testicles checked for cancer. At the time I was young and had no idea what either testicles or cancer were. The only reason I even remember this small bit of memory is that the look on my mom's face when she saw it went pure white and that was a rare occasion.

Until I read this book, that snippet of memory is all that I could tell you about testicular cancer. That was the extent of my knowledge. Sure, I've known people with cancer, but I couldn't tell you anything in depth about it. As for testicular cancer, well I only know of a friend of a friend. I can't say that I wasn't aware of it, but I certainly couldn't educate anyone.

'Together we will win' is the motto that was adopted by the author and her son during his battle with cancer. Ian contracted the disease in his teen years and sadly didn't survive far into adulthood. This book is his moving tale, told from Ian's perspective. A friend saw me reading this and scoffed a bit, stating that it just looked entirely too depressing to read. I admit that cancer isn't exactly a ride at the circus to read about, but I didn't find myself depressed and sad at all reading it. It was rather more like an educational tour with a few jokes along the way. Yes, it's terribly sad how much Ian suffered, but this book doesn't take us into that suffering for long. Ian doesn't focus on the pain, but rather on the love surrounding him.

Alright, I'm afraid I've gotten all rambly again. I'm blaming it on the cold weather and the snow freezing my poor little brain! In a nutshell, this book had me so engrossed that I felt as if I were an intimate friend of Ian's. I feel privileged that this wonderful family allowed me to be part of such an immense part of their lives. If you're looking for depressing and sad, this isn't it. This book is of love, hope, inspiration and education. Honestly I learned so much from this book. I found myself just the other day spouting off random cancer facts that somehow just clawed their way into my brain while I was engrossed in the book.

This book would be perfect for every young man out there to read. Sadly, the world doesn't work that way. None of them are going to pick up this book and read it just for the sake of reading. The ones that do read this book will be the ones that suspect that they themselves have cancer or know someone else who does. As a parent, I'm extremely glad that I've read it. I have two sons and the valuable information inside may one day help alert me if one of them is showing symptoms. In the meantime, I've enjoyed a touching story and I'm so thankful that both Ian and Karen have the strength to share Ian's story with the world.

Posted by Shawn on

Reviews Posted on


Pull out your hanky and get ready to cry, learn, and share the experience with others. For anyone who has had cancer, or knows someone who has or had cancer, this story will touch your heart and if you have never had it, this story will touch your heart.

Young men often neglect the hospital, doctors, and in the and that means neglecting their own health. Determined to believe we will never get sick, the day finally comes when we have to face that dreaded truth. How do we handle it? How do we move past it? How do we learn?

This book should be a must-read for the young who think themselves invincible. Life is short and so we have to live it to the fullest, and to do that we need our health. This book shows us to not compromise our health, to remember we are, after all, human.

Knowing is half the battle, once you know, you can take care of it.

Enjoy one man's journey into self-discovery and ultimately healing.

- Ami Blackwelder, author of The Hunted of 2060
Hot Gossip Hot Reviews

Cancer cares not about age, especially testicular cancer. "Together We Will Win: What Happens When We Don't Talk About Testicular Cancer: A Young Man's Story" tells the story of Ian McWhirt, and his journey with his mother faced with testicular cancer, a deadly danger to young men as early as twelve, often not talked about due to the reservations society has with the body part. Losing her son to the disease, Karen McWhirt hopes her story will teach others to be aware of a disease that can be stopped. "Together We Will Win" is a strong pick for those concerned with what isn't talked about enough.
- Midwest Book Review

As a woman I have always done monthly breast self exams and yearly pap smears, as a preventative measure. And as the Mother of a great son, and having read Lance Armstrong's book on his battle with testicular cancer, this subject has been discussed in a non silly, mature manner in our home.

For some reason some people seem put off discussing such a serious subject. Yet its a subject if discussed could save many many lives. Its why I think this book is a must read for all men of all ages as well as parents of sons. The life you save could be yours or the life of a male dear to you.

And unlike Lance Armstrong whom I admire, this young man and his family are so much like that of your neighbor or your own family. Which makes it a very readable story.
- "MotherLodeBeth" one of top 100 Reviewers on