My Journey

From mind to paper and back again.

Book of Hope

on December 22, 2008


A Sergeant (ATC) from Bawtry (2008) Squadron who suffered cancer in her teens has published an anthology of creative writing by Open University students to help raise money for cancer research and give hope to others who are battling the disease.

When Kirstyanne Sharkey-Daly, originally of Manchester, decided to begin an Open University course at the age of 18 the world was her oyster, she was planning her career, deciding where to go on holiday, hoping for romance.

However, just a few short months before beginning her online computer course Kirstyanne was in shock, her dreams shattered, after learning that a lump on her neck, which she had thought was a harmless cyst, was thyroid cancer.

Fortunately Kirstyanne’s tumour was successfully removed. Today a fading scar on her neck is the only physical reminder of the disease, however the shock of learning she had the feared ‘C’ word at such a young age has stayed with Kirstyanne ever since.

Just five months after her operation Kirstyanne organised and, against her doctor’s advice, took part in a 5km charity swim in Oldham Baths, raising £300 for Marie Curie Cancer Research.

The swim was just the beginning. Now, aged 23, Kirstyanne has continued to actively raise money for both Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK over the years. Her last efforts saw her raising £1,200 by taking part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in the summer.

She has also continued to learn with the Open University and this year began a creative writing course, during which she decided to write about her own experiences of cancer for the first time – putting her nightmare into words.

It was through the course that Kirstyanne came up with her latest venture, an anthology of works written by students on the creative writing course, offering a chance for aspiring authors to see their works in print while raising money for Cancer Research UK.

“So very many people have been touched by cancer in some way,” explained Kirstyanne. “I wanted to create something that would not only provide a way for talented writers to get published but also to raise money for a good cause which is close to so many people’s hearts.

“It was also a way of giving something back to the people who had helped me when I needed it most. The cancer charities do such a great job raising money for important research and supporting people, providing a shoulder to cry on and an arm to lean on in times of need.”

The 50-page anthology is dedicated to those who have been touched by cancer in some way and offers an inspirational mix of works, from poetry to short stories, celebrating everything from Christmas to the credit crunch.

Kirstyanne, who has designed the artwork for the front cover and written both a poetry and piece of prose, explained that every piece is unique, some are humorous while others are heartbreaking – the anthology is a celebration of life with all its good and bad times.

“The response from students to my request for contributions was overwhelming,” Kirstyanne continued. “I didn’t expect to get so many people offering their help; everyone has been fantastic and so supportive. From one single, small idea it has just gotten bigger and bigger.”

Kirstyanne is aiming to sell the anthology at a price of £4.50 per book or £2.50 for an e-book with all profits going to Cancer Research UK, the world’s leading charity dedicated to cancer research.

She has published the book specifically to coincide with Christmas, a time when so many people think of the family and friends they have lost.

In memory of all those people, Kirstyanne will have a picture of a single, pink lily in the centre of the anthology – a symbol of hope and love.

For more information or to find out how to purchase a copy of the Cancer Anthology when published please visit


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