Three-time Emmy Award winning journalist and bestselling author Richard M. Cohen will come to DePauw University to discuss his newest book, "Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, a Chorus of Hope."
Released Jan. 2, Cohen's newest book, already a New York Times bestseller, chronicles the lives of five people living with chronic illness in America.
"These are the faces of illness in America," Cohen writes in his opening lines. "Do not look away."
Denise has Lou Gehrig's disease. Ben, a young college student, has muscular dystrophy. Sara has Crohn's disease and Larry battles mental illness. Buzz Bay, a Franklin, Ind. florist, has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Cohen calls this group of courageous individuals, who allowed him to open their lives on the pages of this book, the "gang of five."
Cohen shares their struggle to maintain an identity other a diagnosis.
"Our view of ourselves as normal human beings making our way in a neutral world is challenged as, in the eyes of others, we become our illnesses."
In his review of Cohen's newest release, Ted Koppel said:
"A more unlikely team of superheroes you will not find. How they approach the inevitability of death how they deal with the challenges and tragedies that await all of us on that journey may be considered the ultimate test. Richard and his friends provide a helluva crib sheet."
Though the subject of chronic illness is often discussed at a whisper, it is also one that his author has helped to bring out of the shadows. Cohen's first book, "Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness," told the story of his own 30-year battle with multiple sclerosis.
In his newest work, immersed in the lives of his gang of five, Cohen says that this project has been a continuation of the journey he began while writing "Blindsided."
"When I wrote "Blindsided," I felt alienated and isolated. I now know I am not alone. Many travel the same road, and common ground lies beneath our feet.
Cohen is a former senior news producer for CBS and CNN and the wife of NBC Today anchor Meredith Vieira.
Cohen, accompanied by Buzz Bay, an Indiana man featured in his bestselling book, will come to DePauw as a part of the Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr. Lecture series. The free event will begin at 4:15 p.m. Monday at the Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media's Watson Forum.