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Jun. 19, 2015

TOPIC: Featured News

Q & A with Russ Illes, Author of Duct Tape Won’t Fix This

Posted by Jennifer Huron

What can’t duct tape fix?  Russ Illes, author of Duct Tape Won’t Fix This: A Father’s Perspective on Raising a Chronically Ill Child (Riverhaven Books) says men love to use it for everything, but when faced with a sick child, duct tape will not work.  “In fact there isn’t anything working for the 32 million dads who currently have a child with a chronic illness.”

Duct Tape Won’t Fix This focuses on what dads experience when their children are sick, and what he went through as a father whose daughter has had cancer six times over the past 36 years.  “As the person who is supposed to fix everything, I felt helpless, hopeless, and frustrated. This book will let dads know they aren’t alone,” Illes says.

Russ spoke with NORD about the book and how dads and families living with rare diseases can find support, and know how to vent when they need to.

Why did you write the book?

After pouring my pain onto the pages, my hope is that other dads will feel comfortable sharing their feelings and frustrations as well. I’ve started a blog on my website,www.DuctTapeWontFixThis.com, where dads can turn to each other to know that they aren’t alone.   Based on my 36 years of experience living this as a father and husband, and reaching out to others over the years, I can say there is nothing in the community specifically aimed at supporting fathers of children with life-threatening illnesses.

Why are dads different than moms when it comes to talking through their feelings?

Most women can tell you that men aren’t very good at expressing their feelings. We think we need to be strong and silent. And this is a large part of why the divorce rate is so high, especially for those who are undergoing the stress that accompanies a child with an illness. Over 80% of marriages actually end due to the stress of caring for a child with an illness.

How can dads find support?

With tools like this book and the blog, dads can know that they are not alone. Dads can have a voice, a way to help other dads going through this same type of situation, and they can find a safe place to talk about how they feel.

If you know someone who is struggling with this situation, please share my website with them. My book, Duct Tape Won’t Fix This, is available through RiverhavenBooks.com, Amazon, and Kindle. And if you need to talk to someone who’s been there, just reach out to me on Facebook (themagichatproject) or through my websitewww.DuctTapeWontFixThis.com or www.TheMagicHatProject.com.

 What did you need as you transitioned through your experience?

I needed someone to talk to that actually knew what I was going through. In 36 years I never met a dad in my position, thereby making me feel isolated, and alone, and struggling to find my way while being the rock for everybody else.

About the Author: Russ Illes is a 66-year-old father of two grown daughters with three granddaughters. His youngest daughter was diagnosed with Acute lymphocytic leukemia, or ALL, at age 3. Over the last 36 years the cancer has returned a total of six times.  Each time taking a different form.

Russ has undergone therapy of one sort or another for 15 years and been involved with the Living with Cancer Support Group at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, MA. He was a volunteer in cancer hospice care for 8 years.  He is co-founder, leader and participant of a men’s support group that has been together for 26 years.  Russ has been involved with the “Friends of Hope” project at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, MA from inception through implementation. The mission of this project is to give children, ages 4-10, whose parent or grandparent has cancer, a voice. The project is based on the book, The Moon Balloon, by Joan Drescher, and training is provided by the author.

In addition to his volunteer work with the Friends of Hope, Russ has volunteered his time at the Magical Moon Foundation in Marshfield, MA which supports children with brain tumors and other life-challenging illnesses. Based on his 36 years of experience, there is nothing in the community specifically aimed at supporting fathers of children with life-threatening illnesses. Russ’s goal is to create a safe place for dad’s to begin a “conversation.”

 

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