Author(s): Rowan Bishop
This is a portrait of a family with their backs against the wall. A story of complexity, of agency and positivity that validates human emotional responses, and ultimately it is a story of survival - a story with a happy ending. In September of 2013, Rowan Bishop's husband Russell was diagnosed with Double Hit lymphoma, at that time a seemingly unbeatable cancer. Up to this point, Russell was an internationally recognised academic, acclaimed for his work in improving the educational outcomes of indigenous students, the most benighted students in many education systems. He was fit and healthy, exercised regularly, was a non-smoker and underwent regular medical check-ups. Completely out of the blue, he was confronted with what seemed to be a death sentence - even though just four months previously he'd had an 'all clear' from his GP. When all hope was gone, he agreed to become Number Six or, in other words, the sixth person in the world to trial a new chemotherapy approach. It was so successful that it not only saved Russell's life so that he became part of medical history, but it is now saving many more - and in doing so is beating the 'unbeatable'. Now, more than two years later, both Russell and Rowan are convinced that his survival is entirely due to a collaboration of extremely dedicated medical professionals, a modicum of luck and unflagging positivity and support from all concerned.
A secondary school teacher for 13 years, Rowan ran her own specialty catering company in Dunedin for a decade and went on to publish six niche cookbooks (with David Bateman Ltd, most recently Rowan Bishop's Vital).