Sophie Sabbage

Sophie Sabbage



Living with ‘terminal’ cancer for over four years has transformed Sophie’s relationship with grief and loss. Her first book, The Cancer Whisperer, has been translated into twelve languages and her second book, Lifeshocks – And how to love them, is a Sunday Times bestseller. As an award-winning business consultant, dedicated patient activist and Senior Trainer with the More To Life Foundation, Sophie has been teaching people how to flourish in the face of adversity for over twenty years. She has a background in psychology, organisational change and English literature. She is also the very happily married mother of a turbo-charged eight-year-old daughter. 

Sophie believes that Loss is as inevitable as naked trees in winter. We are designed for it, but not prepared for it. We are taught to acquire and achieve, not to relinquish and let go. But what if we can win when we lose?

Her talk will redefine our relationship with loss. It will challenge prevailing definitions of grief and restore sorrow to its rightful purpose in our lives. It will illuminate what loss can give us, even as it takes away. 

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Intimate. Uplifting. Surprising.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
My lung cancer diagnosis led me into a deep inquiry about the emotional dis-ease beneath physical disease. I discovered that, according to Chinese Medicine, grief is held in the lungs – a revelation that revolutionised my relationship with loss and resurrected me in significant ways. I want to share what I have discovered.  

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
I hope they will feel lighter, more open and more willing to let their tears fall.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
We need a paradigm shift in the way we deal with loss, which includes failure and disappointment. We need to be expanded by it, not diminished. 

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Maysoon Zayid, I got 99 problems – palsy is just one. I love her complete lack of victimisation. She is authentic, erudite, moving and hilarious. She blasts people’s assumptions and prejudices without defending or judging back. Much respect.


Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells seems to choose themes that touch the spirit as well as the mind. Its talks are very diverse. I looked at several TED events before applying to this one. As a local, I also know there is strong community interest in learning and development.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
Early days to answer this… but get very clear about the idea itself and how it adds value to society.

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
To fall in love with grief.

You can learn more about Sophie on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.