BSPH student and cancer survivor writes book about her journey

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USF College of Public Health (COPH) BSPH student Shannon Nelson has had her fair share of challenges.

She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2022, has navigated money issues and dealt with the devastating deaths of 10 family members and friends, including her husband and mother, over the course of just a few years.

BSPH student and “All Is Well Even if It Ain’t” author Shannon Nelson. (Photo courtesy of Nelson)

“Oftentimes, I feel we go through life and we like to celebrate the wins,” said Nelson, a motivational speaker who is also creating a wellness center. “But we don’t shed light on the test, the journey. Often, people are hurting and need support. They need encouraging words. I wanted to let people know that I made it to the other side of better, and they can too.”

Part of what got Nelson to the “other side of better” was putting her experiences down on paper.

“We all have challenges,” she said, “and sometimes what makes those challenges harder is feeling like we’re alone, like no one understands us. My desire with this book is to be a guide and an encourager. I want my experiences—the good and the bad and the lessons I’ve learned dealing with them—to help others.”

“All Is Well, Even If It Ain’t” is Nelson’s personal account of her trials and triumphs. It covers her cancer journey, her insights about loss and grief and her thoughts on health, healing and hope.

Nelson said her public health training gave her added perspective when writing the book.

“As a member of the public health community, I felt it was my responsibility to share my journey so that I could inspire others to work toward wellness,” Nelson commented. “Wellness deals with our entire being, and we each deserve to live a healthy and whole life. My desire is to inspire by the life I live and the words I speak.”

Story by Parker Guevarra and Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health