Lisa Bonchek Adams, Woman Who Chronicled Cancer, Passes Away
By Rosalyn Oshmyansky
Lisa Bonchek Adams shared her breast cancer battle with strangers through tweets and blogs online.
On Friday, the mother of three passed away at 9:45 pm.
"The thousands upon thousands who knew and loved Lisa Bonchek Adams; whether in person or via Facebook, Twitter, or her website and blog read around the world; whether up close or from afar; will find it hard to believe that her steely will and indomitable spirit were finally overcome by the disease she had lived with for so many years," her website now says.
Adams shared her story in more than 176,000 tweets and regular blog posts. Her Twitter account had 15,300 followers, and she wrote that more than 10,000 visitors a day went to her website.
Recently, on Feb. 26, she tweeted out a beautiful message. "Make the most of this day. Whatever that means to you, whatever you can do, no matter how small it seems," she said.
And yet, her words online were also met with criticism. In January, her battle was compared to the "calm death" of New York Times' op-ed columnist Bill Keller's father-in-law. "His death seemed to me a humane and honorable alternative to the frantic medical trench warfare that often makes an expensive misery of death in America," Keller wrote. "Her digital presence is no doubt a comfort to many of her followers. On the other hand, as cancer experts I consulted pointed out, Adams is the standard-bearer for an approach to cancer that honors the warrior, that may raise false hopes, and that, implicitly, seems to peg patients like my father-in-law as failures."
After this column, twitter backlash erupted against Keller with many seeing it as a personal attack and defending her right to write about her journey. Adams tweeted out the same day the column came out.
She also tweeted back at Keller.
It was in October of 2012 when Adams first learned her breast cancer was stage IV. She continued to chronicle the procedures, chemotherapy and cancer getting worse. Earlier this month, she wrote, "Things have gotten exponentially harder in the last few weeks."
Her family reports that she died surrounded by loved ones, writing on her website, "We know that Lisa will always be a part of your lives, as she will be a part of ours."