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The Healing Power of Stories

Inspire Health Event Calendar March 7, 2011

In our January 27th weekly newsletter, we issued an important invitation: for you -InspireHealth patients, support people, partners, medical practitioners, volunteers and friends- to share your story with us. We wanted to hear about your insights on integrated cancer care and about your InspireHealth experience. Why? Because stories have the power to help heal and to inspire someone to change the course of their life.

We have long known that the experience of sharing stories can have significant impact on helping individuals move towards health and healing. Now, the evidence to support this is emerging. “Telling and listening to stories is the way we make sense of our lives,” said Dr. Thomas K. Houston, lead author of a study recently profiled in a New York Times article by Pauline W. Chen MD. Dr. Houston continues, “That natural tendency may have the potential to alter behavior and improve health.”

According to the article, “Experts in this emerging field of narrative communication say that storytelling effectively counteracts the initial denial that can arise when a patient learns of a new diagnosis or is asked to change deeply ingrained behaviors. ‘Storytelling is human,’ Dr. Houston said, ‘We learn through stories, and we use them to make sense of our lives. It’s a natural extension to think that we could use stories to improve our health.'”

The stories you sent in response to our invitation demonstrated that many of us are yearning for a different health and healing story, and for more community building, connecting, and inspiration through storytelling. On behalf of everyone here at InspireHealth, and on behalf of all of the individuals living with a diagnosis of cancer that may be looking for a different story, thank you!

We invite you to take a few moments as Donna Hiller and Edgar Vasquez share with you a different story of cancer…



If you feel inspired to share your story, whether in writing, on video, or through other creative mediums, please email us at