Warrior Women: Maria Quiban Whitesell, You Can’t Do It Alone
By Anna Griffin, Editor in Chief
For those whowatchher daily weather forecasts onFox 11’s Good Day LA,Maria Quiban(Whitesell),is a familiar and friendly face. Her warmthis infectious andbroadcasting from homethrougha pandemic,she isanupliftingbreath of fresh air.Until recentlyhowever,few people knewthat Quibanhadendureda devastatingloss. Herbeloved husband, Sean,was diagnosed withGlioblastoma, a rare and deadly form of brain cancer that tragically took his lifein December 2015.
In June, Quiban released her first book,You Can’t Do It Alone,which details theirexperiencefrom diagnosis to his untimely passing18 months later. An honest and poignant account,Quibantakes us on an incredibly moving and personal journeythat details their love story, andhow as a couple and parents to their young son, Gus, theyunited instrength intheir fightagainstthe disease.
You Can’t Do It Aloneis a book for our times that any reader will effortlessly fall into. Heartfelt and inspiring, Quiban courageously shares her story in the hope of raising awareness and helping others, while gently reminding us that we can’t (and don’t need to) do it alone.
One of the things that impacted me wasreading aboutyours and Sean’s courage,and your mindset to be positive.I foundthisremarkable considering what you were both going through, as individuals and as a couple with a young son.
That’s why I wrote the book,becauseI really hope it can inspire people. We all have our unique stories and our journeys, and have all experienced loss to some degree.I am hoping thatthe bookwill inspire others,but it’salso a chance for me to talk about our love story while bringing awareness toGlioblastomaand brain cancer. This particular type of cancerlacks funding and awarenessand it’s still one of the rare cancers, meaning it doesn’t affect as many people as some of the cancers that are out there, but it needs attention. It truly can affect anyone: Young, old, male,or femaleat any time, so we need to focus some attention and funding to that disease.
What are some of the ways you’re doing that?
First and foremost I try to talk about it, especially in May, which is brain cancer awareness month. I do my best to wear grey, which is the color of brain cancer and representsthe grey matters of the brain.I try to talk about it as much as Ican on the air,and mention how it is one of the rarest forms of cancer and needs funding. I also talk about it at different events I am asked to speak at, so I can raise more awareness because so many people still don’t know aboutGlioblastomaor brain cancer.
You and Sean found so many things to laugh at together, and going through all of his treatments,were stillable to findjoy. You write how you were even able to have belly aching laughs, which isreallyinspiring.
You can’t forget that, even now. They didn’t cancel joy and the more we gravitated towards that, I am grateful,because laughter is the best medicine. It’s an expression that we all hear, but it’s literally true,so we made an effort everyday to find joy and to try to laugh. Even if it was renting a funny movie or sharing funny videos or memes, it’s a way for us to release that stress and feel better. So yes, laughter is the best medicine.
This book really is a gift, and while reading itI felt a sense of your mission.It’svaluablethat you are reminding us that there are people we can connectwith and to just ask for help, because I think we all forget that sometimes.
My contributing writer,Lauren Schneider,is an amazing wealth of information. She is a licensed therapist and deals with grief, specifically with children. Going through what we went through with Gus, who had just turned five when his father passed, and the language that I had to learn to speak to him about cancer, death and illness, I am so thankful that I had those tools and we found our village.
I hope the book can encourage others to find their village and that support system,because like the title of the book,You Can’t Do It Alone,we truly can’t do this alone. You may say to me, “I don’t have a family like you do, Maria. I don’t have that support system that you did,” but guess what? We