Survivor or Thriver?

Do you like being referred to as a ‘survivor’? Is there another term you prefer?  When did you decide you deserved the title?

Definition of ‘survive’:  To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere: families that were surviving in tents after the flood.

After reading this definition, ‘survivor’ isn’t empowering, but simply a state of being.  For some, that is all living beyond cancer is.  For others, living beyond cancer becomes an opportunity for learning gratitude, courage, team work, communication….oh and so much more!  Many ‘survivors’ claim their life has more meaning, more depth, greater love than ever before.

I like to call myself a ‘Sur-Thriver.’

Definition of ‘thrive’:  To grow vigorously; flourish:

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross describes coined the Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.  Trisha Torrey, a patient advocate, coined a sixth stage, Proactive Survivorship.

A proactive survivor:

  • Overcomes grief and blame.
  • Decides how the tragedy will affect him/her
  • Improves the quality of their own life and others’ lives.
  • Tells their story, not a victim’s feel-sorry-for-me story, but a tragedy-turned-triumph story showing strength to move beyond and giving hope to others.
  • Rejoices instead of blames; inspiring others by example.

If you are a ‘survivor’, how do you perceive yourself?

By | 2016-10-14T15:18:20+00:00 July 29th, 2012|Making Life Meaningful, Storytelling, Survivorship|2 Comments

About the Author:

Nationally recognized Master Storyteller Eva Grayzel, shows her audiences how to bring new business strategies to life through the power of storytelling: compelling stories to communicate the company message, role-playing stories to build teams and human stories to generate passion.  An expert on interactive storytelling techniques with 25 years’ experience, Eva’s engaging keynotes, training workshops and corporate retreats are custom-tailored to your organization.  After surviving a shocking diagnosis of late stage tongue cancer, Eva broadened her audience base speaking about the patient’s experience.  When Eva starts speaking, audiences stop looking at the clock. Her powerful survivorship story and her professional training as a performer allows her to deliver mesmerizing programs, actively engaging each member of the audience professionally and personally.  Eva is the author of ‘You Are Not Alone: Families Touched By Cancer,’ and ‘Mr. C Plays Hide & Seek.’


  1. Melissa Cohavi July 29, 2012 at 9:35 am - Reply


    Thank you for this. I am definitely a Sur-Thriver like you. I never liked the term, survivor, and I didn’t know why until now. So thank you again for all that you do.


  2. Krebstherapie September 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm - Reply

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