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March 2024

Growing up in South Shields, England, a small seaside town on the North East coast, I have lived with the legacy of cancer for almost half a century, and I remain humbled, to be one of the UK’s longest cancer survivors.

Still, many would argue that is a negative life experience – but, for me, and ironically, it has made me who I am today. Lucky or fortunate, privileged or simply destined to be a survivor?

As a consequence of the salubrious treatment I received in the seventies, I now reap the consequences of ill health, (leading to my retirement in 2021), which included another cancer diagnosis in 2019, and which sadly reoccurred again in October 2023, leading to further treatment.

Therefore, inspiration is so important, whether that be during illness, or indeed, any kind of life adversity. When my mortality was confronted music, namely space rock legends Hawkwind and, the Lakota Sioux Nation were my inspirations. However, as chronic illness, reared its ugly head once again, it was the music of Lukas Nelson (son of the legendary country icon Willie Nelson) and Promise of the Real (his band) that inspired me and drove my optimism forward. Music which is entirely different from what I had previously listened to. A unique and eclectic blend of rock, folk, and country music.

"Remember, life is not a rehearsal – do not allow yourself to be a prisoner of the past; that was just a life lesson, not a life sentence. Never look back on your life unless you are prepared to smile and be reflective, and never look forward unless you can dream—we all need dreams and we all need hope."


Since the age of seventeen, I have only been out of work once since leaving school, which was for ten months during the diagnosis and treatment of my four-year-old daughter Donna, with terminal leukaemia (a legitimate excuse I am sure you will agree).

My working career began as a welder in a local Shipyard before the spectre of cancer gripped my life in a deathly stranglehold, refusing to let go. Then after Donna’s illness, I retrained as a nurse (working exclusively in cancer services), ending my career at South Tyneside NHS Trust as a senior clinical nurse specialist, the same hospital that made my diagnosis almost fifty years earlier. Now that is one hell of a twist of fate!

Today, in retirement, I have turned my focus to a passion for storytelling - writing children’s fiction. Fortunately, I am now being recognised as a serious children’s fiction book author – and I am loving it.

So, after years of taking my own grandchildren on weird and wonderful imaginary adventures, elasticated journeys from landing on the Moon to saving the King of England, I decided to use the retirement process as an opportunity to share my tales with the world’s children.

My two current titles, and synopsis can be seen on this website. 

Currently, I have just about completed my sixth title, ‘Mind Boggling Stories,’ and although my third, fourth and fifth titles are still to be released, these should hit the shelves in Summer 2024. More significantly, I have lots more ideas for 2025.


All of that said I am so proud of my memoirs, ‘Me and My Shadow – memoirs of a cancer survivor,’ as it has given inspiration to so many, and hopefully, will continue to do so. As a consequence, I continue to travel around the North of England on a quest of inspirational speaking engagements that delivers to the audience, hope and inspiration, and to me, a catharsis.

John Walker Pattison

Award winning author of untold inspiration.

Purchase (from the link below) 'Me and My Shadow - memoirs of a cancer survivor.'

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