We hold events for all sorts of books that can have transformative effects on people’s reading experiences – but it’s not so often that we launch a book that is going to have transformative effects on people’s physical health and wellbeing. On Thursday, 20 August, we hosted the launch for Dr Giresh Kanji’s new book Fix Your Neck Pain, Headache & Migraine.
In addition to the excited friends and family, a whole host of Dr Kanji’s patients – past and present – turned out to celebrate the launch with the pain specialist. Among them was Unity Wellington’s own manager, Tilly Lloyd, who was the first of the evening’s speakers. ‘I thought that we needed some words from the inside of the shop and the inside of recovery from pain.’
Tilly talked about her discovering both Dr Kanji (and his team) as well as the book. ‘Talking with Giresh about How Does It Hurt? by Stephanie de Montalk was the moment where I though “I’m in intellectual company.”’ She described Dr Kanji’s first book (Fix Your Back) as being ‘absolutely full of informed hope’, and providing the information for ‘fixing one’s back rather than having it fixed by others’.
Dr Ian Coutts was the next speaker of the evening, in the role of friend and book launcher. He described their early days, as students together at Otago Medical School, before waxing effusive about Dr Kanji’s current work, full of ‘revolutionary ideas’, and being ‘all about the future and moving forward.’ He also mentioned Dr Kanji’s NZ Pain Foundation, and its exciting future paths – possibly including getting Lady Janine Mateparae on board as a patron.
Dr Kanji then had his own turn at the mic. ‘Just over two years ago, I finished Fix Your Back – I didn’t have a book launch, I thought no one would come. So, today, I feel very overwhelmed.’ He acknowledged the support of various people involved in the project – ‘it takes more than one person to write a book.’ In particular, he mentioned Max Rashbrooke, his editor, as well as all his proofreaders, the people who let themselves be photographed for the book, and the patients who let him share their stories.
There were giggles, too: both of the pun-filled variety (‘After the first book, it’s hard to believe there’s a second – writing a book is a pain in the neck, and it can often cause a headache.’) and general hilarious anecdotes (like the process by which he initially tried to get his book into the store, before encountering Tilly at his practice a few weeks later).
Dr Kanji’s main hope with this book, and his previous publication, is to help as many people as possible avoid serious pain and complications. And given that the next morning he was on TVNZ’s Breakfast to talk about the book and his research, we’re sure that he’s going to have a positive influence on many more people’s lives as time goes by.