Skip to content

Turner Valley author compiles tales of survival and strength

Wendy Portfors shares stories of struggle, strength, and triumph
SCENE-Wendy Portfors Book BWC 3201 web
Wendy Portfors has compiled a new anthology of short stories titled "Through My Eyes: 74 True Stories of Survival, Strength, and the power of Believing". The book contains stories by authors across Canada, as well as some by Portfors herself detailing the overcoming of personal struggles.

A Turner Valley author has compiled an anthology of stories celebrating human triumph.

Compiling short stories from across Canada, in addition to some of her own, Wendy Portfors has created her new anthology, Through My Eyes: 74 True Stories of Survival, Strength, and the Power of Believing.

“I'm really, really thrilled that a lot of people took the time to sit down to share their story,” Portfors said.

The aim was to show others experiencing struggles in life that they were not alone.

“My idea when I first started this was to put a lot of those stories together so families could read it and say ‘wow, here’s somebody else who had a shared experience and they moved forward and they survived through it,’" she said. “Their stories are meant to be inspirational, motivational, give people hope or courage.

“I think we all face challenges in life, we all have a plan for how we expect our life to go, and all of a sudden you get thrown a curveball. And how do you deal with that curveball?”

Some of the stories in the book are ones of loss, she said, but also how someone moved past it.

“It's not that you quit missing those people but you learn how to live your life differently," she added.

Other tales are of people coming together to help strangers, such as a section detailing the people of Gander, Newfoundland rallying to help stranded airline passengers on 9/11.

“Those are truly stories about the kindness of strangers and people who went above and beyond,” she said.

Some old stories have a new relevance.

“One of the stories is about a family that went through the Spanish flu and what happened to the family, and it’s absolutely full circle,” she said.

Portfors’ own contributions are not ones of loss, as she had written about it in past stories, but rather of surviving catastrophe.

One outlines surviving a tornado on her farm in Saskatchewan, and another about a motor vehicle collision where her truck had rolled several times.

“It was a shocking thing that you think how close you were to death," she said.

The contributors, all in Canada, range in age from 20 up to 96.

Portfors' past works include two Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and a memoir, titled Remembering Love.

The Power of Believing was carefully chosen wording, she added.

“Believing you can survive a cancer diagnosis, believing that life will go on after the loss of a loved one, believing you can overcome an obstacle, as long as you put your mind to it," she said.

Through my Eyes: 74 True Stories of Survival, Strength, and the Power of Believing can be found on

Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and
Read more