Blogging for Regine

Regine’s Book: A Teen Girl’s Last Words by Regine Stokke
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Zest Books
Genre: Teen Nonfiction / Memoir
ISBN-13: 978-1-936976-20-1

Regine Stokke began her blog after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia in 2008. Her goal was to paint a realistic picture of what it’s like battling a life-threatening illness—and to share her experience with the world. During the 15 months Regine was sick and to her death she transformed from an average teenage girl, upset that she doesn’t have a private hospital room, to a grateful and humble young woman with a deep appreciation for the beauty all around her.

Regine’s Book (Zest Books, October 2012) is Regine’s story as it was written on her blog and is supplemented with a selection of photos as well as comments from blog readers and entries from those who loved her most. The book deals with all the facets of living with cancer, from the good days to the bad and everything in between.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about people who permanently lose their hair,” wrote Regine, who had lost her own hair due to chemotherapy. “Can people actually get used to it? I haven’t. Society today is obsessed with looks. [But] I wore a wig to the hospital today and finally avoided all the stares. That felt good…”

At an age when Regine’s biggest concern should have been what dress she was going to wear to prom, she was worrying about whether or not the wig she’s wearing looks natural and about all the things she may soon be leaving behind. “The fear of no longer existing never goes away,” Regine laments only a few months before her death. “I’m afraid to leave the world and I don’t want to do it. I think about my family, and about my friends. I have to fight for them. I can’t leave them behind with that sorrow. I have to try everything I can, despite how bleak everything looks.”

It was this incredible hope and love for others that carried Regine through the 15 months of her illness. During this time she also had her photographs displayed in a museum exhibit, attended concerts, enjoyed her friends and family and advocated for others to register as blood and bone marrow donors. Regine’s Book shows her as a typical teenager in a terrifying situation, with an amazing will to live, and the lessons she learned have relevance for all of us. Through her eyes, readers will discover a more vivid world—and a new appreciation for life, art, and the power of the human spirit.

For the past ten years, the fall time, especially the transition into the holiday season has been a difficult time for me. Everything changed when my Grandmother passed away from cancer. No more Christmas traditions as I knew it. No more Sunday night dinners at her home with everyone from that side of the family (and I mean everyone). No more quietly laying on the floor in front of her watching her “stories” (soap operas) and being so incredibly confused when I missed a few days. No more walking to the center of the living room and pointing at the glass table towards the picture collage, the picture of her at prom, asking her what it was like for the millionth time. No more having the Grandparents at my house while their new home in Florida was being built and seeing Grandma working in the front garden when the bus dropped me off after school. My grandmother was the glue to a lot of things. One thing she never poured out in her letters to me was the process. Granted, it all happened so quick… or at least it did to me. My parents randomly (or so I thought it was random at the time) sent my sisters and I to my Grandparents’ Florida home for Memorial Day weekend, I found out she had cancer in July and she died in September.

Since then I have known a handful of people who have lived with cancer but it wasn’t until I read Regine’s Book that I got an in depth look into the everyday life of not only someone who has cancer but someone relatively my age living with cancer. I can’t even begin to tell you how enlightening and how much confirmation Regine’s words have been for me. Regine was wise beyond her years and I am so glad that she was able to see the power her words hold before she passed away. Regine’s Book is one of the most gripping memoirs I have read all year. Her story needs to be heard, her words need to be shared so that people can gain a better understanding on the importance of appreciating life and giving what they can to those who are hanging onto it. Every teenager needs to read this book.

Regine’s Book will stir up so much inside of you that you will not know where to throw the love first. Do something. Face your fear. That was Regine’s motto and that is the message that bleeds on every page of her book, every blog post and every photograph of hers compiled to make this book. Face your fears. Accept your war. It is what it is. When life gets in the way, what are you going to do? When life gets in the way of those around you, will you be there for them? I guarantee you will be after you read this book. So many people have no idea how blessed they are and so many people do not take the time to see that their life is so much greater than them. Regine’s Book sheds a light on these topics and so many more. I encourage each and every one of you reading right now, no matter what stage in life you are at to go out and get a copy of this book. Everyone needs a reminder to appreciate life. Everyone needs a reminder that life is worth appreciating. Today I am blogging for Regine but she is in my heart forever and I want her words to be in your hearts as well.

To visit Regine’s blog (it’s in her native Norwegian), click here.

For more information, visit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Check out the previous and upcoming stops on the Blogging for Regine tour, which runs November 26 – December 7th here.

Regine’s Book: A Teen Girl’s Last Words written by Regine Stokke, translated by Henriette Larsen is available now at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, IndieBound, The Book Depository, and wherever books are sold.