Review: First Survivor


I was contacted by mail to read First Survivor by Mark Unger, who tells the story of his family when his little boy of three years old was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Although non-fiction is a genre I usually don’t dive my toes into, I couldn’t refuse. My heart wouldn’t let me.

First Survivor: The Impossible Childhood Cancer BreakthroughBlurb

This is a real life thriller about a family’s battle to save their son from a “zero chance of survival” diagnosis. With the world’s best doctors and the advocacy of his parents, Louis Unger would fight the battle for his young life. His grit and incredible attitude led to a breakthrough that would change how cancer is treated today. This is not a medical journal or a how-to guide. It is a true page-turner that gives you a front row seat to a miraculous story of courage, inspiration and determination. “

This is definitely a story of pure strength. When you’re confronted with the illness of a child, with neuroblastoma, I can only imagine how hard and fast your world collapses right around you. It influences every aspect of your life and makes you want to stand up and fight, but crawl away and hide all at the same time.

Although this novel is written in a fairly distant voice – or so it felt like to me – the general message is clear: Enjoy every day you have. You never know when life’s going to turn around and get hard, harder than ever before.

I loved how this story, although written in a more scientific voice, still oozes a message of love, hope and importance of family. It shows that a brilliant support system is needed in the most difficult of situations – being family, friends, colleagues and the medical staff. Every small token of support is appreciated as if it’s the biggest support ever.

I admire the Unger family for going through the hardships they had to deal with and I am glad I got to read their story. It’s one that will stick with me for a long, long time to come. I hope people reading this will understand the message it brings. I hope readers will find solace, even if it’s only the tiniest bit, in the Unger’s story should they be going through the same hardships in life.

I hope people read this and realize even the smallest gestures can be an other person’s world.

I know a lot of you don’t read non-fiction often, but I want to ask you to try and read this short novel. All profits go to the Carrot Seed Foundation – a foundation the Unger family started to help find a cure for neuroblastoma and to support the children and families who are stricken by this disease.

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