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+00:00July 29th, 2012|Making Life Meaningful, Storytelling, Survivorship|2 Comments

About the Author:

How many speakers leave you with memorable life lessons, motivating a life-perspective adjustment, a catalyst for real change? As a professional interactive performance artist, I have stage presence, charisma, a deep vibrant voice, and a message worth your time. I'm too busy to waste my time or yours with talk that cannot be applied personally and professionally in an immediate way. I performed ‘A Story NOT Silenced by Oral Cancer’ Off-Broadway in New York City to a sold-out audience, I founded the Six-Step Screening™ oral cancer awareness campaign, authored two books: ‘Mr. C Plays Hide & Seek’ and ‘Mr. C the Globetrotter,’ to empower children with coping skills and communication strategies when someone they love has cancer, and created ‘My Story Legacy,’ a creative format to document family stories, life values and wisdom for future generations. Share this link with friends/colleagues who participate in conferences in need of a speaker who will rock the house!


  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

    Howdy very nice web site!! Beautiful .. Superb .. I will bookmark your website and accept the feeds. I search out useful info. We want work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

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