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Home > Author > Jan Baird Hasak
Jan Baird Hasak

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Member Since: Apr, 2009

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  Jan Baird Hasak

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Jan Hasak, a young mama when breast cancer rocked her realm, emerges anew as a poetess, author and bloggess.

Background Information

Jan Hasak worked for over 32 years as a patent attorney, and most recently at Genentech, Inc., a major biotechnology company that developed and now sells Herceptin, a cancer drug that she took during her second treatment with cancer. Jan retired from Genentech in May 2008 after working there for over twenty years.

A survivor of breast cancer twice, Jan Hasak penned her first book to inspire others to persevere. Mourning Has Broken: Reflections on Surviving Cancer reveals her honest feelings during her blistering walk through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. The book also addresses the quagmire of lymphedema, a little-understood potential complication of breast cancer surgery or radiation.  

In addition to describing medical challenges, Mourning Has Broken also tackles how to parent three relatively young sons while enduring treatment.  Additionally, the book includes chapters with advice on forgiveness as well as beauty tips and do's and don't's for caregivers.

The book is endorsed by Saskia Thiadens, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the National Lymphedema Network, as well as by David Rollins, M.D., husband of a breast cancer and lymphedema survivor.

The main reason for writing this book was to provide needed information and hope to other cancer survivors, their friends, relatives, and caregivers.  The book is interlaced with humorous anecdotes and "fun facts" to help the reader navigate through the passages.  The book concludes with a resource section to assist the reader in identifying additional books and websites of interest on this and related topics.

Jan's second book, The Pebble Path: Returning Home from a Forest of Shadows, emerged after she listened to children's poetry at her biweekly writing critique group. Not having written poetry since high school, Jan was intrigued and decided to try her hand at writing emotive poems relating to her cancer and lymphedema conditions. But she didn't want the book just to be a chapbook collection of poems, because she wanted to put them in context. So as she was walking through the forest near her woodland home she got the idea of using the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel as a basis to tell the story. Thence the Pebble Path was born as an inspirational allegory of her cancer road trip, interspersed with poetry. 



Birth Place
Rochester, NY US

In March 2011 Jan's book "Mourning Has Broken" received a Writer's Digest International Self-Published book award.

Jan is a member of the Board of the Lymphedema Advocacy Group helping to raise awareness of the Lymphedema Treatment Act in U.S. Congress.

A Reach-to-Recovery volunteer for the American Cancer Society, Jan also is a patient-advocate for the National Lymphedema Network.

In March 2009 Jan was awarded a D-Day certificate by the National Lymphedema Network for her lymphedema patient-advocacy work.

Jan provided patient commentary in a book "100 Questions and Answers about Lymphedema" (Jones & Bartlett, 2010)

In February 2008 Jan received an award from Genentech for a story she wrote about the effect of their drug Herceptin on her life.

Jan graduated cum laude from Seton Hall Law School.

Jan received a Sherman Clarke Fellowship from the University of Rochester, where she obtained an M.S. degree in Chemistry.

Jan graduated summa cum laude from Hartwick College, where she received a B.A. degree in Chemistry.

Additional Information

Jan recently spoke to a group of women who enrolled in the Healthy Steps program at her regional cancer center. She also offered the closing thoughts and prayer to cancer survivors at a celebration hosted by her local cancer center. Since publication she has spoken at Genentech, at her local library, and at several church functions and support group venues. In addition, her book has been featured on two cable TV shows and on a local radio station. Jan has held book signings at the American Cancer Society, the National Lymphedema Network international conference, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and several independent bookstores. Jan has spoken to numerous cancer support groups as well as to her former employer Genentech. Jan has read a selection of poems from her book at her local library during open-mike sessions.

Favorite Links

Jan Hasak's website
This website contains information on Jan's books as well as resources on cancer and lymphedema found to be helpful. A special page called Lymphormation contains the latest information on lymphedema.

Jan Hasak's blog
Jan shares her reflections on surviving breast cancer and lymphedema based on news items, books, and observations on her personal life and the lives of others.

National Lymphedema Network
Excellent and trusted resource on lymphedema

American Cancer Society
A wonderful organization to support.

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