Visalia’s Kyle Campbell writes bestselling book about his 30-year journey with inoperable brain cancer
VISALIA – If you’re looking for an author to inspire you this holiday season, look no further than local professor Kyle Campbell.
It’s not just a story of “local boy beats the odds to succeed”, it’s more like “local boy overcomes severe diagnosis at a young age, survives radiation, continues to battle medical problems and still becomes a college professor and award winning author.” It’s a story beyond belief, which is also the name of Campbell’s new book.
“Beyond Belief: How Living with a Brain Stem Tumor Brought Faith and Purpose to Life” is the newest book to hit the bestseller’s list. In fact, it made a dozen best seller’s lists on Kindle in the categories of Disability Studies, Oncology, Christian Faith, to name a few.
Campbell, now 34 years old, was born and raised in Visalia and was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor when he was just 5 years old. While many people survive brain cancer, the survival rate for those with a tumor in their brain stem is far lower because the proximity to the control center for the brain made the tumor inoperable. As a child, Campbell said he would go to bed wondering not if he would be sick the next day, but how sick he would be and if he would be well enough to attend school with other kids.
“It was a dismal prognosis,” he said. “It’s pretty unusual that I’m still here and doing things.”
Since surviving radiation at 14, he has continued to struggle with disabilities and the effects of his inoperable brain tumor for the last 30 years. While the tumor has stopped growing, it is still putting pressure on his brain. This causes double vision, intense bouts of dizziness and slight paralysis down his left side, which affects his ability to see, speak and walk.
Despite these obstacles, Campbell went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, as well as a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from California State University, Fresno. He has been the recipient of multiple awards and scholarships and is a nationally certified rehabilitation counselor. For the last seven years, Kyle has provided support and instruction to students with and without disabilities at College of the Sequoias in Visalia.
“I thought I knew better than other people, that I was smarter,” Campbell said. “But you realize we are all struggling with things, we are all doing the best we can and that it’s important to focus on what matters, other people instead of focusing on ourselves.”
The experience has helped Campbell realize how precious life is, how life cannot be done on our own, and how important it is to live with faith, focus, and flexibility. While in school, Campbell studied philosophy and sought knowledge as a way to understand his predicament but the only words that seemed to offer peace and purpose were found in the Bible. He said his faith has helped him realize that making yourself a priority leads to loneliness and that focusing on others is where true joy and purpose is found.
“All of our lives are subject to time and the only thing we control is how we spend it and who we spend it with,” Campbell said. “You can’t control the outside world, all you can control is your attitude and your responses to those outside influences.”
In his book, Campbell shares his journey of living with an inoperable brain stem tumor, having radiation, experiencing daily impairments, and the ups and downs he (and his family) have faced along the way.
“Those with brain tumors, disabilities, barriers, challenges, or anyone going through anything… we cannot do it on our own!,” Campbell writes in his book jacket.
He’ll also share his answer to the questions: Why do bad things happen when there’s no reason for it? Why do five-year-olds get life-threatening brain stem tumors? What kind of hope is there to ever have an answer for a question like that? What is there to believe in these days?
“Pain and suffering are all around us,” Campbell writes in the description of his book. “Through this thing we call life, we experience so much that just flat-out stinks. Things are out of our control.”
In addition to sharing his journey, Campbell will help readers learn how to:
- Let go of ‘control’ and be content in any situation you’re facing
- Build and/or restore hope and joy in your life with the right foundation
- Prioritize what matters and stop pursuing the distractions around you
- Start living on purpose with confident conviction
“So much of our culture says it’s all about ourselves,” Campbell said. “I wanted to leave a meaningful legacy for my family and others. Writing a book was also on my bucket list, so I said to myself, ‘Why am I waiting?’ None of us know how long we have, so there’s no reason to wait.”
Campbell did his first book signing at Gateway Church in Visalia on Dec. 11. The 164-page book is currently available in paperback for $14.95 on Amazon and $4.95 on Kindle.
Campbell is a Christian, a preacher, a poet, a philosopher, a professor, and an advocate… but some of his favorite labels are husband and father. Born and raised in the Central Valley of California, Kyle lives in Visalia with his wonderful wife, Lori, two amazing boys, a third boy on the way, and their dog, Macy. To get in contact with Kyle, you can email him at [email protected].