Everybody has a story, but not many are as extraordinary as David Menasche's.
Menasche, who grew up in Broward and became a teacher at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, will be releasing a book next January documenting his trip cross-country and the insights he gained from it. Brain cancer has made the still-young man -- he's only 40 -- blind and crippled and forced him to evaluate what's important in life.
"I walk with a blind man's cane, " says Menasche. "I can't use the left side of my body. I have no feeling, all the way down to my fingers and toes."
Menasche has undergone numerous surgeries and chemotherapy. His brain cancer is at stage four. "Some time ago," he explained on a page set up to raise funds for his trip, "I got used to the idea idea that I was doomed to die from this."
He decided to travel the country, a task he dubbed "Vision Quest," and reconnect with many of his former students in an effort to determine if his teachings had an impact in their lives. He began his trek in November 2012 and completed it in February of this year.
In all, Menasche spent 101 days on the road, visited 31 cities, and linked up with 75 former students.
"The purpose of the trip was to regain what brain cancer took from me, " explains Menasche. "Basically, my classroom."
The much loved, tattooed teacher has a former student to thank for all of the publicity his accomplishments have received.
"I was living in South Florida and doing some writing when a former student contacted me and wrote a story on what I was doing," says Menasche.
That former student, Lidia Dinkova, authored a story on Menasche that ran in the Miami Herald.
"CBS and NBC did some small things on me following that," said Menasche. USA Today ran a story.
Menasche was contacted by Brandi Bowles, who now serves as his agent, of Boundary Media. The self-described "'vagabond drifter" then put together a 30-page proposal for various publishing companies interested in acquiring a book documenting his travels.
"After that, I had to write a sample chapter. I wrote the chapter, companies bid on the book, and here we are. I'm contractually obligated to write a book."
The book, titled The Priority List, will be available for purchase January 14, 2013.
Follow Dennis Bovell on Twitter @dbovell.
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