'Walking Disaster': How This Man Endured Stage 4 Cancer and Hurricane Katrina and Lived to Tell of God's Favor

Some of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (Wikimedia Commons)

"My identity was largely wrapped up in being the helper, that if something bad happens, I'm one of the people who goes in and helps. It was hard to make that shift to be the helpee," said Dr. Jamie Aten on a recent "Greenelines" episode on the Charisma Podcast Network.

Aten, founder and director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College in Illinois, has both personal and professional experience in dealing with storms. Not only have he and his family endured Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Harvey, but he's a survivor of the H1N1 pandemic and of stage 4 colon cancer, which attacked him at age 35.

His experience with natural disasters, he says, helped prepare him for his personal storms. He and his family moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, less than a week before Hurricane Katrina devastated the area.

"Before, I don't think I really understood that we can let our pain either divide us or unite us," Aten says.

His experiences moved Aten to write A Walking Disaster: What Katrina and Cancer Taught Me About Faith and Resilience, which released in January.

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