The Book

The Book

Brief synopsis of the story:

“Imagine being a 38 year old beautiful girl weighed down by severe depression. Impact such a life with family issues and divorce. Retard it with her rejection of God and attempted suicide. Then bludgeon it with stages 3 and 4 cancer. Once diagnosed, Shirley chooses to “cut my crap and do it with God.” He blesses her but above all with the realisation he loves her. So, one week before she dies she has her testimony recorded at great cost to herself as “one last thing I can do to glorify God.” In it she says, “Though battered on the outside, inside it is well with my soul.” Her mum tells the story in a book called “Mum, Please Help Me To Die”.

Mum Please Help Me To Die

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“I nursed Shirley in her home in Wokingham until she died. After that God gave me a picture of the baton exchange in a relay race. Shirley was running and she passed the baton on to me. I understood that I was to tell her story to satisfy her final desire which was to glorify God. Hence the book.”


Extract from Chapter 22



Thy skilfully tells a gripping story that is far more, because the story is an intensely personal, vulnerable reality with a powerful, moving and multi-faceted message. Nothing can prepare the reader for the impact of the profound loss, yet remarkable victories that unfold. I could not put the book down until I’d read the last page.

A thousand emotions and tears of sadness and joy later, I finished reading this most unusually tender book… What an amazing tribute to a beautiful, most courageous girl and a faithful pursuing saviour. Thank you, Thy, for sharing this with the world.

Dr. Karen Cerff  (COO: Transformational Leadership Institute)


…This book gives a searingly honest account of Shirley’s less-than-perfect life and, in particular, her struggle with suffering. She prayed for healing, but God had a deeper healing in mind than physical recovery from cancer.

I count it a privilege to have known Shirley and to have seen a transformation that can only come from the same power that raised Christ from the dead. It is wonderful that even after her death this story can be told by her grieving mother in such a compelling manner.

Rev. Dan Hayward (Rector, St Andrew’s Church, Oxford)


This exquisitely written narrative reaches the depths of both the tragedy of a life cut short and the bottomless love of the saviour. Reader, be ready to experience for yourself a wide range of ultimately beautiful emotions on the pathway to eternal ecstasy with the Lord.

Prof. William F. Cox, Jr. (Christian Education Programs, School of Education, Regent University, Virginia Beach, USA)


This poignant and moving story will take you on an emotional roller-coaster that will leave you breathless, and tearful, but also full of hope. It is the account of a young woman’s struggle to trust God and how faith returns when all the odds are stacked against it.

While it is the account of a parent’s worst nightmare, that of losing their only child to cancer at the age of thirty-nine, it is a bigger story than that. It must have cost Thy a great deal to tell it. How grateful we are to her for an excellent book.

Thy has a rare gift in writing. She uses words in such a way that the reader is dragged into each moment and feels every pang of hurt or movement of hope. The story ends on a magnificent note of hope. This hope would have been impossible if Christ, his cross and resurrection were not real. Thy captures the struggles of believing this great truth and places us firmly in the presence of Jesus and at the foot of the cross.

Rt. Rev. Frank Retief  (Retired Presiding Bishop of CESA, now operating as REACH SA)


Thy’s beautifully written and searingly honest book struck a chord with me on many levels. As a mother, daughter, Christian, and as someone who has struggled with a serious disease, I found that Shirley’s journey from emotional torment to deep spiritual peace made me want to find that peace for myself, for now and for always.

But it is in Thy’s depiction of Shirley’s growing understanding that God loves her that my heart soared. Shirley changes from someone who feels she can’t please God and needs to perform in order for him to love her, to someone who has experienced, tangibly, God’s presence, and knows that she doesn’t need to do anything for him to love her; that his love is unconditional. That knowledge, and the trust it engenders, is utterly beautiful. In Shirley’s case, as Thy writes, God has been knocking on her heart for a lifetime, but “cancer turns the key”. I put the book down wanting to keep my heart open every day, and to remember always that God loves me – as his daughter, unconditionally.

Katie Cartwright (Wife, mother, consultant researcher, with MAs from Oxford and Cape Town Universities and a diploma in freelance and feature writing)


Because I have a daughter too and have witnessed some of Thy’s immense suffering, I found it really hard to get down to reading this book. While it addresses so many issues very relevant to modern life, in me it stirred deep emotion. Times without number – when I could at last speak to God again – I whispered, “Why so much? Why like this? Why allow hope when you knew you would take it away?” At times I wondered if I would ever again believe he heals.

What was I left with, that last late night when I had finished reading? Strangely, one thing only: that his name is “I will be what I will be”. My mind floundered, but my very bones knew he is the Eternal, he is my Father, I want no other.

I cannot find words to speak of what I experienced. This book is so relevant, so powerful…

Marzanne Leroux-van Der Boon (Experienced popular writer of Christian historical fiction set in modern-day Israel)