Nora McInerny

Advocate | 2017

Nora McInerny has shown that sometimes the best weapon for fighting cancer is raw, simple honesty.

At age 31, just weeks after her father died from cancer, Nora’s husband, Aaron, passed away from brain cancer. Her care giving experience, in addition to raising a toddler during this difficult time, was documented in her blog, “My Husband’s Tumor.” The blog is described with this simple caption: “It’s not a cancer story, it’s a love story. With some cancer.”

The obituary that she and Aaron wrote during his hospice stay went viral and touched readers around the world. Sad, poignant and funny, it “outed” Aaron as Spider-Man, while listing his cause of death as “radioactive spider bite.” Nora’s blog readers stuck with her the following year as she formed an online support group for other grieving wives called the Hot Young Widows Club. She then founded Still Kickin, a non-profit organization and support system that raises money for people affected by similar tragedies.

Nora recently released It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool, Too), a memoir about her family’s experience with cancer. She also hosts a podcast on American Public Media called “Terrible, Thanks for Asking,” a show focused on talking candidly about pain, grief and trauma.

Nora encourages her readers, listeners, and Still Kickin community members to practice self-care, ask for help when they need it, and to allow themselves to experience (and honor) the myriad of complicated emotions that can come from a cancer diagnosis or death.

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