Journalism Students Interview Breast Cancer Survivors for New Book

LA PLATA, Md. (April 03, 2010)—College of Southern Maryland journalism students interviewed several breast cancer survivors in February for an upcoming book Portraits of Hope: The Faces and Voices of Breast Cancer Survivors of Charles County.

As part of their coursework, the journalism students are learning how to conduct interviews and are also helping cancer survivors tell their stories in the book designed to promote breast cancer awareness.

Sisters at Heart breast cancer support group founder Roberta Kieliger came up with the idea to tell some of the many stories she hears of Charles County women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

We know the numbers all too well; one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, said Kieliger, a resident of La Plata and a breast cancer survivor.

Most of the students in the CSM journalism class (ENG-2300) know someone who has had cancer. Some, like second-year student Erica Winter, a communication major, has known more than her share.

My step-grandmother had ovarian cancer and passed away in 2000, said Winter, of Waldorf. My uncle had lung cancer, which spread to his brain; he passed away this year. My mother is fighting a battle with lung cancer and she is currently receiving treatment….Due to the experience with cancer in my family, this project has meant a lot to me.

For some students, it was their first experience interviewing people for a non-fiction writing project, and they came away with more than just a writing lesson.

Listening to the survivors tell…their stories was incredible, said CSM graphic design student Nyema Taylor of Waldorf. Some things said were funny, some heart-melting and some were strictly a reality check. Since then I have been doing routine checks and even getting my friends and family involved.

If you are a breast cancer survivor from Charles County and want to submit a story, visit for more information, e-mail, or call 301-934-0435.

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