Monday, 29th March 2010 – 09:07CET

Cherishing life, unafraid of death – Annabelle Vassallo’s book selling fast
An autobiographical book by a young woman who has been told she has terminal cancer may have to be reprinted after some 8,000 copies were snapped up within days.

The book is the work of Annabelle Vassallo, of Siggiewi, who astounded the nation with the Christian fortitude and positive outlook to life she displayed when she twice appeared on Xarabank to speak about her experience.

She wrote the book – Irrid Nghix – within three weeks and said this was one of her projects to continue to live in people’s hearts.

The book, published by Klabb Kotba Maltin, was formally launched in a backed ballroom at the Hotel Phoenicia yesterday afternoon, but many copies were sold through telephone orders arranged by the TV programme last Friday. The profits are all going for the children’s cancer organisation, Puttinu Cares.

Last December, after many cycles of chemotherapy, the 38-year-old was told that there was no more hope of treating the aggressive tumour in her neck, that has now spread through her body.

“My lungs are full of cancer, which has touched my liver, head. It is attacking everywhere,” she said.

However, even as she talks about the disease that is robbing her of her life, Ms Vassallo keeps smiling and talks about the things she still has to do before she dies, including organising a big prayer meeting.

Archbishop Paul Cremona, who described his spiritual relationship with Ms Vassallo as “love at first voice” after he spoke to her while she was getting treatment in London, spoke highly of the young woman’s zest for life.

Ms Vassallo told people how the disease has turned her into a better person. “It has made me a person whom I really love,” she said, adding that cancer also brought her closer to God.

“I do not want cancer to destroy me. Whenever someone asked me why it had happened to me, I always answered, why not,” she said.

The “promise of heaven” is also helping Ms Vassallo march on. “I don’t want to die. I want to live. But the promise of heaven is so beautiful that I am not scared of death because I know I’m going to a better place.”

Despite her strong faith, Ms Vassallo admits that she put God aside when she was diagnosed.

“I spent a week angry at God, but then I missed him, just like people miss their boyfriend when he goes abroad, or their friends.”

The book can be bought from bookshops or online from Copies cost €10 each.

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