My Race Against Death

Shoba Rao

Lessons Learned from my Health Struggles


When cancer strikes, the same body that you trusted has produced cells that are ready to kill you. The horrors of chemo, surgery, hospitalization, and everything that is thrown at you with the aim of making you better, breaks you physically and mentally. It would be so amazing if you were cured and never got it again. Unfortunately, that is not a guarantee anyone can make. But should that stop you from living? In My Race Against Death Shoba Rao shares the most important lesson she has learned as a three-time cancer survivor and a kidney transplant recipient: You are not your disease. It does not define your life, rather it reminds you to live life to the fullest extent. This book is for all patients who would hopefully gain some insight on how to tackle a disease like cancer both physically and emotionally. It’s also for family and friends looking for advice on how to best support their loved ones through this journey.

Shoba Rao

Shoba Rao was born and raised in the southern part of India. She is an engineer at heart and has a master’s in electrical engineering from Stanford University. She is a successful career woman with twenty-five years of experience in the semiconductor industry and currently serves as director of manufacturing engineering. Shoba lives in the Bay Area of California with her husband, Suresh. She is a Distinguished Toastmaster and often shares her life journey in various speeches, focusing on inspirational speeches with a humorous touch. She  enjoys volunteering for non-profits related to cancer and has been volunteering with the Cancer Institute Foundation for the past 15 years.


Praise for My Race Against Death

“Shoba Rao offers an honest appraisal of a lifetime’s worth of experiences that enabled her to overcome several significant health crises with a sense of wisdom from which we can all benefit. Her courage and determination as she faced these struggles serve as a reference guide for the uncertainties that we will each face throughout our lives.”

Corrie Painter

Cancer survivor, scientist and advocate for cancer research

“‘Running or hiding from struggles and dislikes does not make them go away. They always come back to find you’ – this quote from the book got me to read the entire book in one  sitting. In this inspiring book, author Shoba Rao brings us an insightful and a warm approach to a difficult subject. Her engineering mind and resolute spirit are beautifully portrayed as Shoba takes us on her complex journey into the world of cancer and shares her thoughts, fears, frustrations, etc. She weaves her story of grit and determination in an easy-to-read format which makes the book very apt for all.”

Lakshmi Mysore


“Cancer and chronic disease memoirs abound but none I’ve read are from the perspective of a Hindu girl who grew up in India then moved to the US to become an engineer and forge a successful high-tech career in a male dominated world. An accomplished Toastmaster speaker, the speechwriting skills honed by the author shine throughout this captivating book.”

Gloria Glen Moore

Survivor of non-Hodgkins lymphomas, breast cancer, and angiosarcoma