of School Press Release
Dr. Bob Farmer and his wife, Christina, recently donated
10,000 copies of his book, Lasso the Sunshine –
Capture the Brighter Side of Life, to the Southern
Illinois University School of Medicine Cancer Center in Springfield,
Illinois. The book will be distributed to oncology care centers
throughout the southern half of the state and given to patients
and their families facing the fight with cancer. The goal
is to optimize the emotional health, and subsequently the
physical health, of residents of Southern Illinois, consistent
with the charter mission of School of Medicine.
Dr. Farmer is a 1991 graduate of the University of Illinois,
and 1995 graduate of the Southern Illinois University School
of Medicine. A resident of Shiloh, Illinois with his wife,
Christina, and their three children Austin, Alexis and Ashleigh,
Dr. Farmer practices family medicine in a solo practice in
New Baden, Illinois, approximately 30 miles east of St. Louis.
In his book, Lasso the Sunshine – Capture
the Brighter Side of Life, Dr. Farmer drew upon his own
experiences during residency training as a source for the
book’s content. Finding himself on call in the hospital
for thirty-six hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day away
from his wife and family and eating hospital food, he began
feeling sorry for himself. During a quick break to eat, he
saw a segment on the evening news which chronicled the service
of America’s military in war-torn Bosnia. U.S. soldiers
were providing what relief they could to children left orphaned
by ethnic cleansing. These soldiers were away from their families
on Christmas trying to console children who had no families.
After viewing that segment, Dr. Farmer had a different approach
to the thirty-six hours he would spend at the hospital. “I
thought, wow, I’m pretty pitiful to be feeling sorry
for myself given what others have to endure.” It was
then, he decided to make the most of a seemingly bad situation.
“I made a decision to look at the brighter side of things
and I tried to spend that time on call making a positive impact.
I spent a lot of time talking with my patients, mostly about
things unrelated to their illnesses. Patients genuinely appreciated
that, and for once I actually enjoyed my time on call.”
What came out of those thirty-six hours was the inspiration
to someday write a book which focused on life’s positive
aspects. The end result is a mixture of autobiographical,
biographical, philosophical and spiritual thoughts that encourage
others and provide a strategy to seek out the positive sides
of any given situation.
When asked why he and his wife had chosen to donate 10,000
copies of his book to Southern Illinois University and its
cancer center, Dr. Farmer felt that it would be a natural
fit. “I graduated from the SIU School of Medicine, and
I give them great credit in training me to focus on the whole
patient. I try to view patients as individual persons and
not as a disease or a number on a chart.” Many of Dr.
Farmer’s family and friends have been afflicted by cancer
and he considers himself lucky to consider a lot of his patients
as friends. “I think a positive outlook is imperative
to achieving overall good health. Hopefully in some way this
book is a reflection of what I’ve learned in my training
and my practice and in some way those words on a page may
In partnering with the Southern Illinois University School
of Medicine, the book will be given to patients at the School
of Medicine’s oncology center and distributed via the
school to community cancer treatment centers from Decatur
to Cairo, essentially covering the southern half of the fifth
most populous state in the country. Dr. Kevin Dorsey, the
Dean of the School of Medicine, is excited about partnering
with one of the school’s graduates to help the residents
of Southern Illinois.
The book has already received some rave reviews from St.
Louis media and educational leaders. Dr. Farmer hopes patients
will find his message just as helpful. “The Man upstairs
has certainly blessed me and put a lot of sunshine in my life.
Hopefully my book will help others lasso the sunshine as well!”