22 Jun 2024
Hoping and coping with cancer – the story of Helene Rennervik
Community Parenting

Hoping and coping with cancer – the story of Helene Rennervik

It is a true revelation every time I get the chance to meet people and listen to their life stories. Everyone has been struggling in life, some more, some less. Life doesn’t spare anyone, not even the children. What’s the meaning of it? Who knows the answer? What’s sure is that there are only two ways in life: fight or be defeated. Everyone has the same end, but if the chance of life was given, why not fight for it, why not enjoy the journey? Battles can be won.

Helene Rennervik‘s life is an inspiring story about a mother and a son fighting for a life that almost ended just when it started. Without any guarantee, hoping and coping was the way of this life story. Helene – the wife, the mother, the daughter, the sister and the friend – came out with success. She promised herself and to her child that if they win the battle, their story would be told. So she published a book, became a coach and inspires everyday people that interact with her.

Her voice is ready to spread the message, to help and inspire others.

Who is Helene? What made you write your book ”Coping and hoping”?

Helene is a Positive, Loving and Fierce person, who brings comfort yet challenge. I wanted to write a blog during the time of my son’s treatment to share what we were going through. However, there wasn’t any time. But I promised that when Yousef will be finished with his treatment, I would write a book.

Your life changed when your child Yusuf was diagnosed with cancer. That moment was like a reconfiguration of your life path. How did you rethink your life journey?

The world shrinks down so small when your child is sick. Its easy to loose perspective, to grow depressed, to become exhausted. But you don’t have to stay there. You can make choices that bring you more “parent-ability”, resilience, spirituality, power and hope.

What kind of research did you do and how long did you spend researching before beginning your book?

I had NO Idea how to write a book. I attended a book writing course, I attended webinars, I asked other writers how they write. I tried for a few months, but I was stuck and didn’t get anywhere. That’s when I looked for a Book Coach. Together with Diane I explored different possibilities. She did exercises with me to reach inside to find what I wanted to say. How I wanted to share our journey… She challenged me and was the catalyst… Both Diane and I researched different topics during the time when the book was being created.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Through my writing I let the reader see a mother’s doubts and fears as well as my strengths. I have a spirited – and a spiritual – approach to life’s worst moment. Hoping and Coping will help readers find their strength and spirit, too.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been curious and I’ve always asked questions. It is the energy of a language that makes it powerful.

What does success mean to you?

Success for me is: When you are the best version of yourself! When you try to make a positive difference in the world. When you don’t judge others or yourself.

What was your hardest part to write?

The hardest parts were when I had to recall the memories when I was told about Yousef’s diagnosis. When he started the first chemotherapy treatment, when we were driving to Sweden, when he had his surgery…
There were SO many hard times. A roller coaster of emotions. Having a coach by my side made it a healing process and I could start to see something new. The book made me discover new possibilities!
Again when I was recording the Audio Book, all the emotions were brought up again and at times I couldn’t continue because I was filled up with emotions and tears.

How did you recharge your batteries when you felt out of energy? What was the source that gave you the power to continue the fight?
I tried to look for the little things in every moment. When possible, I went out for a walk in the nature. I promised to my son that I would DO ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I possibly could to help him get better. I NEVER gave up HOPE!

What did you learn from your experience?

Later, much later when my son had gone through his treatment, I REALISED I HAVE GOT MORE TIME WITH HIM….TIME IS PRECIOUS. We all take it for granted! I DON’T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED ANYMORE! Make every day count! DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME!

How do you see the women’s role is Swedish society? What about in the world?

Swedish women are very independent and strong. The role of a woman is different in different parts of the world. However, a woman can be a mother, a daughter, a wife, a grandmother or a sister and that is the same all over the world.

How are the people that are asking for your help? What things do they miss in their lives and how do they look at the end of their journey with you?

They are professionals who want to make a meaningful contribution across all facets of life, including environmental, technical and social fields. They are business professionals, entrepreneurs, social advocates and high-achievers. What my clients have in common is their desire to make a positive difference in the work place and importantly, the world. They all perform at high levels, but for whatever reason, may feel stuck, overwhelmed or unfulfilled.
My programs will help them make real progress and achieve their highest goals.
It can also be parents – Mothers who are going through what I did.

I’ll be by their side and help them:
Hope – Don’t loose hope even in the most difficult moments.
Cope – Find a way to cope during the most difficult moments, just small baby steps are okay. Just focus on the moment you’re in.
Accept what it is and just leave it at that.
Ask questions – And wait for the answer.
Ask for help.

I advocate for coaches, because they will just listen without judgement. They will ask you questions – not following an agenda. They follow your words, feelings and emotions. They will make you hear and see what you might not know. They might make you find a solution to your fear, problems and/or see a different road or path.

What can you recommend for those who are in situations where they feel they are stuck without any answer?

I recommend people to stay in the Questions! Keep asking questions and the answers will come to you. Questions = Empower and Answers= Dis-empower. Never Give Up, Never Give In and Never Quit.

Before your son had the operation you had a little chat with him. What was it? What was the meaning of what has happened. Do you think it was some kind of answer?

The answer for this question is in the book, chapter 10 ”I See the Future!” pages 166 and 168.

We are all so different. What do you think connects us (the world)?

We are all human beings, and you should see each person for who he/she is without judging the person. Whatever is positive or negative for one isn’t necessary the same for the other.

Do you have any favourite motto/ quote that you can share with others or any other advice for the world?

Always Look for the Possibilities!
Each chapter in my book starts with a Quote.
Chapter 5 “Every day may not be good but there is something good in every day.” – Alyce Morse Earl
Chapter 11 “You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow they will be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift.”- Sutton Coldfield

Do you think that there are limitations in faith?
I believe faith removes limitations. Whenever I think of impossible situations and how people overcome unbeatable odds, I believe it has to do with someone’s strong faith and also not to forget in him- or herself. I never said “Why Me?”. I say “Try Me!”

The end of a poem by – Walter. D. Wintle says.
“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can! “


If you want to read the book, get it right here:

Amazon / Kindle



Photos: Christin Sylvander 

1 Comment

  • Jade 11 Aug 2018

    Thanks for sharing this story it is really inspirational xx I am glad you took the time to write your book and I am considering this as a route myself

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