Lasso the Sunshine Press Release 

12/18/06 University of School Press Release

Dr. Bob Farmer and his wife, Christina, recently donated 10,000 copies of his book, Lasso the SunshineCapture 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 SunshineCapture 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 help somebody.”

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!”