Sisi Kleiner-Fisman smiling outside.

July 4, 2023

Sisi Kleiner-Fisman: Inspiring people of all ages

2 min read


Like all kids, 11-year-old Sisi Kleiner-Fisman is excited for summer. But her break is looking a bit different than most children her age.

That’s because in addition to playing with friends, swimming and eating lots and lots of ice cream, Kleiner-Fisman is also celebrating the release of her first novel, She Warrior.

Pretty amazing for having just finished the fifth grade, right?

Telling her story to help others

When Kleiner-Fisman was three, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. To fight the cancer, she spent a lot of time in hospitals in Toronto and Philadelphia receiving chemotherapy and radiation.

Going through this is incredibly challenging and frightening for people of any age, and even more so for very young children who don’t fully understand what’s happening and grasp the importance of these life-saving procedures.

Several months ago, Kleiner-Fisman was thinking about everything she went through in her early years and realized that sharing her journey with cancer could give hope to other families going through similar experiences.

“Most people, after they have cancer, reflect on themselves from when they were 30,” said Kleiner-Fisman over the phone from her Toronto home. “But I woke up one day, and I was reflecting on my life. I decided, ‘Hey, my story could help so many people. I’m going to write a book.”

Once she had the idea for She Warrior, Kleiner-Fisman got started on bringing it to life. A few months later, she had drafted the 90-page novel and created illustrations for it too.

The book details her cancer being discovered, her treatment, the support she received and her finally being cured. There are highs and lows but ultimately this is a happy story meant to inspire.

“Because I’ve had the experience of having cancer, I know that it feels so terrible,” said Kleiner-Fisman. “I want to help other people living with cancer have a little bit of a better time than I did.

“I’m hoping that families that have either a child or a parent living with cancer will learn to take it one day at a time, focus on the positives and look for the silver linings. And with families who don’t have cancer, I’m hoping for them to be able to have compassion for those living with cancer.”

Staying positive

We all face challenges and trying to be optimistic isn’t always easy to do. What advice does Kleiner-Fisman have for people that may be struggling to find those silver linings in difficult situations?

“Take things one day at a time, and things are going to look up,” she said. “I think you should always try and be happy. If you don’t you might get really sad and that’s not a very good feeling. I don’t think anyone wants to feel that way.”

Her own experiences have taught Kleiner-Fisman that this takes work. In She Warrior, she writes about how once her treatments started she went from a happy little girl to being anxious, angry and sad. What are some of the things that helped her to stay positive while fighting cancer?

“Well, I knew that I would get to spend lots of time with my family. Also, because I wasn’t eating enough, they wanted to make sure that I was getting enough food so that I didn’t have to get a feeding tube, so I got to go to a lot of cool restaurants. I got to spend time in Philadelphia too. So I got to say, those were positive things.”

Lots of amazing things ahead

Although Kleiner-Fisman still has some hurdles to overcome due to the effects of radiation, she’s a healthy, happy and ambitious kid that loves learning. The published author dreams of becoming a child psychologist when she grows up so that she can continue to assist others.

As for the present, this summer she’s planning to try her hand at entrepreneurism while still giving back at the same time.

“There’s this organization called Chai Lifeline that helped me a lot when I was dealing with cancer, and they continue to help me today. They’re lending me a lemonade stand, and some of my proceeds are going to Chai Lifeline here in Canada so that the can continue to help other kids.”

Despite being only 11, Kleiner-Fisman has already gained a lot of wisdom from the journey she’s had so far. Before wrapping up our conversation with her, we asked what creating She Warrior taught her.

“I learned that great things take time.”

Very true indeed, and we can’t wait to see all the good things she continues to do in the future.

She Warrior is available here.

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Mitch Team

The articles you'll find on the Mitch blog are all the result of a team effort, contributed to by one or more of our RIBO licensed insurance brokers and/or other Ontario insurance experts. Contributors to our blog include:

  • Adam Mitchell (RIBO) - President and CEO of Mitch Insurance Brokers
  • Nick Kidd (RIBO) - Chief innovation officer at Mitch, & director of business insurance
  • Alex Gemmiti (BSc, CIP, RIBO) - Service team lead at Mitch Insurance
  • Jesica Ryzynski (RIBO) - Insurance broker, claims specialist, and account manager at Mitch Insurance

Learn more about the Mitch Team

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