A 40 year old mother’s personal and no holds barred account of her cancer journey which ended in 2014 has now been published.
A book written by Nikki Hastings before her death last year at the age of 40 has been published by Hampshire-based company Little Knoll Press with the author’s royalties and the profit going to Lewis-Manning Hospice. Nikki attended the hospice towards the end of her illness and there she regained her confidence, to find that she had yet again much to give to others, including her last chapter for the book.
In ‘A life turned Upside Down’, Nikki chronicles and shares how she navigated her way through cancer from a state of shock, depression, torment and struggle, to acceptance, becoming a happy, strong, brave and positive woman.
In 2008 Nikki was at a good point in her life, she had two little girls, one still a baby, and a career that she loved with the Bournemouth Adoption and Placement Services. Then the least-expected happened – she went to see her doctor with a painful hip and within days had a diagnosis of terminal cancer. At the time she was given only a few months to live, but due to her willingness to try new treatments and determination to make the best of her remaining time, her life was extended by years.
The drugs, although giving her more time, had bad side effects, but Nikki hauled herself out of the darkest times and lived to the full during the better periods; writing a blog for the local paper, raising funds for charity, writing a book about her experiences and, most importantly, applying the ‘Lifestory’ work that she had piloted within the children’s adoption services, to leave a wealth of memories for her children.
Early in 2014 Nikki approached Jenny Knowles, Little Knoll Press, about publishing her book. She brought her story up to date and the book was coming together well, before her illness overtook her and she passed away. Her family, while adapting to life without her, have helped to complete her book, entitled ‘A life turned Upside Down’.
The book includes a foreword by local actress, comedienne and impressionist Debra Stephenson, who through her role as Patron for Lewis-Manning, got to know Nikki. In the book Debra recounts her introduction to Nikki at the hospice’s annual Ladies Lunch, writing, “It is always a privilege to meet someone who is courageous, determined and inspirational, especially someone who has the ability to touch your life through meeting them for the first time.”
Nikki’s former manager at Bournemouth Adoption and Placement Services has written the post script, giving attention to the pioneering work that Nikki did with ‘Lifestory’, now accepted practice in adoption and placement services.
‘A life turned Upside Down’ was launched on 4 February, which was also World Cancer Day, with a special event at Lewis-Manning, where Nikki was a regular Day Hospice patient, and guests included her husband, two children and mum, as well as friends, staff, volunteers and hospice patients.
Paul Tucker, Lewis-Manning’s Communications Officer, said, “Nikki was a wonderful ambassador for the hospice and by sharing her story with the media and allowing her photograph to be used in publicity, she helped to raise our profile so that other people might also benefit from what we do.
I spent some time with Nikki on various radio, television and press trips and she spoke passionately about her book and how she wanted people to read an honest and open account of what it’s really like, as a married working Mum with two young daughters, to have a terminal cancer diagnosis. It is an incredible achievement and she would have been very proud to see it finally published.”
‘A life turned Upside Down’ by Nikki Hastings is a quality paperback illustrated with over 30 original photos published by Little Knoll Press. £7.99 per copy – all profits to Lewis-Manning Hospice and available from Lewis-Manning Hospice and shops or www.LittleKnollBookshop.co.uk (ISBN: 978-0-09927220-3-6)