Book gives love a legacy

Writer opens up about losing her boyfriend to cancer

Megan Williams will sign copies of her new book, Our Interrupted Fairy Tale: A True Story, March 9, 1-4 p.m. at Indigo Park Royal South. ourinterruptedfairytale.com

When Megan Williams lost her boyfriend, well-known North Shore tennis player Chad Warren, to cancer, in tribute to him, she vowed to not let the disease destroy her as well.

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"To be able to stay positive, what was really important for me was that cancer didn't kill anybody else. Chad lost his battle, but I wanted to stay the girl that he fell in love with. He would be so angry with me if I had let this devastate my life to a point of not being able to function or to not be the person that he believed I could be," she says.

Despite what she's gone through, having lost someone she loved at such a young age, the 29-yearold North Vancouver resident has continued to stay positive. Out of an interest in offering solace to others navigating their own respective cancer journeys, she has just released her first book, a memoir entitled Our Interrupted Fairy Tale: A True Story. The book was released on Feb. 11, Warren's birthday.

The couple met on the tennis court when Williams was 16 and Warren was 26. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the blood, a few days later. Warren continued to undergo treatment for his illness and eventually, more than three years later, the pair started dating.

Warren succumbed to cancer at age 34, in November 2009.

"I wanted there to be a place in time where between two covers of a book our story can exist and I wanted to give our love a legacy," says Williams, who works as a communications co-ordinator for B.C. Transplant.

The best-case scenario for her would be for copies of her book to find homes on people's bookshelves and 35 years from now be picked up and read again.

"First and foremost, anybody who is interested in a good love story will hopefully love this. It's written with an antagonist of cancer, but it's first and foremost a love story," she says.

Warren's voice is present throughout as Our Interrupted Fairy Tale draws upon emails, letters and cards the couple exchanged over the years, Williams' diary entries, as well as their respective blog posts.

"You hear about Chad's life through Chad's words," says Williams.

Their story is told honestly, and is reflective of the ups and downs they experienced, and challenges they faced, both personally and in their relationship.

"It's a real story, it's got real flaws in the characters and it's documented in real time, so you get to read about the frustrations that happen, both on my part or on Chad's part."

While Williams hopes Our Interrupted Fairy Tale has wide appeal, she also hopes it resonates with young patients battling a disease, or partners or spouses who are witnessing someone they love struggle with their health. She hopes the book proves therapeutic, showing them they're not alone.

Williams also hopes her book brings further awareness to the foundation Warren launched with his family prior to his passing, intended to help others diagnosed with his disease, and to help find a cure for multiple myeloma and other blood cancers.

"It's a great opportunity to be able to bring light to that," says Williams.

Funds raised through Chad's $1 Million for Multiple Myeloma (chads1million.com) go to the Hematology Research and Clinical Trials Unit of the Vancouver General Hospital/University of British Columbia Hospital Foundation.

Among the foundation's fundraising initiatives is the Chad Warren Charity Challenge, an annual mixed doubles tennis tournament.

Our Interrupted Fairy Tale: A True Story is available at a number of local retailers as well as Amazon. Visit ourinterruptedfairytale.com for a complete list of stores.

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