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logo This is an inspirational book in which Cynthia Toussaint provides living proof that with courage and determination, supported by love, anything is possible. I hope you will read Battle for Grace. - Jane Goodall
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Battle for Grace: A Memoir of Pain, Redemption and Impossible Love


Battle for Grace is a gut-wrenching memoir about excruciating pain, remarkable redemption and impossible love, told warts and all by the two people who lived it.

The book describes a journey that took Cynthia Toussaint and her life partner John Garrett to depths that could have ended their lives, but instead are giving wondrous hope to millions of women around the world. Hope borne out of devastating pain that‘s been overcome by a brave love for each other and for life.

All of Cynthia Toussaint’s net proceeds from the sale of this book go to For Grace



Battle for Grace Authors Featured on the Discovery Channel
Cynthia Toussaint and John Garrett’s 31-year pain and caregiving story is profiled in the groundbreaking one-hour documentary Pain Matters. Battle for Grace inspired the final segment of this film that is a must-see for people with pain, their loved ones and healthcare professionals. Pain Matters premiered in November 2013 and is NOW available to view online @ 

This Battle for Grace review from the London (UK) Sunday Express posted February 2015

“On the surface Cynthia Toussaint’s book is a powerful love story about a tragedy stricken ballerina heading for stardom until illness strikes. But Battle for Grace is far more than this.

Cynthia’s book is a unique and shocking insight into the dark and sometimes secretive lives suffered by thousands of people with severe, debilitating chronic pain. The lack of understanding, sympathy or recognition and the desperate and often futile hunt for diagnosis, help, and treatment.

Cynthia and her husband fought and achieved this against all odds. But not only that. Together the couple succeeded finding deep meaning in their lives again by battling for others in longstanding and severe pain.

This page-turning book is the kind of account that does not see the light of day because chronic pain does not get the attention, the funding or the media focus it deserves.”

- Lucy Johnston, Health Editor, Sunday Express

How To Order Battle for Grace

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Order Battle for Grace in all other e-book formats at Smashwords

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Book Description

Battle for Grace is about a seven-year-old girl who sees Funny Girl and has a dream.  To act, to dance and to sing.

It’s also about how she becomes a woman whose life is virtually destroyed by a crippling mystery illness and how she fights the institutions that failed her.  A woman who has lived an almost impossible love story that began before her illness. Somehow she and the man who is her reason for living, her caregiver and her partner in life have managed to stick together for more than thirty difficult years.

Battle for Grace tells how she reinvents herself and turns tragedy into triumph for millions of women worldwide. At the same time, she transforms her life into something more beautiful and meaningful than her original dreams of stardom.

Ballerina Cynthia Toussaint’s promising career ended abruptly when a rehearsal injury that caused excruciating pain remained undiagnosed for thirteen years. This left her bedridden for a decade, unable to speak for five of those years and often reduced to uncontrolled violence. Throughout all of this, Toussaint’s claims of pain were discounted by her HMO as being all in her head—a frequent occurrence with women and their doctors.

Many people with her illness—sometimes called the Suicide Disease—take their lives instead of contending with the pain. Toussaint’s story is about her refusal to be a victim. She not only fought to survive, she has taken on the role of activist and aggressively challenges the HMOs and pharmaceutical companies that put profit ahead of patient care. Wheelchair bound, she founded a nonprofit and entered the political arena as an advocate for women in pain.

In the process, Toussaint has become a media magnet. She has appeared on more than seventy-five local and national television shows and been featured in over 200 news stories. Her list runs the gamut from community newspapers to The New York Times, Newsweek and ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.

Toussaint’s memoir takes the reader on the roller coaster life of a woman who sees every no as a future yes. Despite pain, setbacks, abuse and betrayal, she holds her ground, finding in the process the spotlight she’d always coveted. And a deeper meaning in life than she ever expected.

About the Authors

Battle for Grace author Cynthia Toussaint

National bestseller and co-writer Linden Gross

Additional contributions by John Garrett


What They’re Saying

“This is an inspirational book in which Cynthia Toussaint provides living proof that with courage and determination, supported by love, anything is possible. I hope you will read Battle for Grace.”
- Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace,

“I identify strongly with Cynthia’s experiences since I’ve endured fifty-six years of living with a disability after a skiing accident left me a quadriplegic. Our competitive spirits have helped us triumph over our severe physical problems. By telling her story, as I did, Cynthia is helping millions of others to never give up on their dreams.”
- Jill Kinmont Boothe, Alpine ski racer who inspired The Other Side of the Mountain

“Battle for Grace is a tale of grit, survival, and redemption. With unflinching honesty, Cynthia Toussaint lays bare her decades-long quest for diagnosis, validation, and respect, and the tenacious journey that transformed her from housebound patient to passionate advocate. For the millions of patients living with pain and illness as well as those who care for them, Toussaint’s story will resonate powerfully—it is one of suffering, yes, but ultimately, it is one of unconditional love.”
- Laurie Edwards, author of In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of Chronic Illness in America (Walker, 2013)

“Battle for Grace—Cynthia’s journey and story—is a true testament to the strength of the human spirit. Cynthia is at once honest, determined, raw and inspiring. You will find yourself rooting for her through the challenges and delighting in the victories.”
- Beth Darnall, PhD, clinical associate professor, Division of Pain Management, Stanford University

“Be forewarned: Reading Cynthia’s memoir will break your heart. Yet despite her agony, she has not only survived, but thrived. She gives hope and courage to other women in pain.”
- Cheryl England, editor/publisher, Southern California Physician

“Cynthia Toussaint’s life is one of the most incredible stories I’ve ever heard. Her passion for life and for helping others—even in the face of seemingly insurmountable hardship and devastating pain—can inspire all of us. Her life story also sheds light on the shortcomings of a health system that too often fails to meet the needs of patients such as herself.”
- David Olmos, former health editor of the Los Angeles Times & Pulitzer Prize finalist

“I enjoyed Battle for Grace because it looks deeply not just at the person experiencing pain, but also at the caregiver who shares in the experience. I appreciate the degree to which the love between the two people in this story promotes their healing.”
- Kevin Dobson, actor

“Battle for Grace shines a light on the plight of women in pain and the perseverance it takes to change the system.  This is a story of hope and success. In a word, inspirational.”
- California Senator Carol Liu

“Cynthia’s book depicts how life-changing pain can be and the importance of hope, courage and an openness to new treatments. Expressing pain in words can be remarkably healing as Battle for Grace reveals.”
- Paul J. Christo, MD, MBA, host, Aches and Gains Radio Show, associate professor, Division of Pain Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,

“Loneliness…trapped…despair…fear. These are the reactions I hear from my chronic pain patients. This book is part of Ms. Toussaint’s journey to get beyond her fear and despair. Her book will inspire, comfort and inject hope into the lives of my patients and their loved ones. I call it required reading for their healthcare providers!”
- Steven Richeimer, M.D., chief, Division of Pain Medicine, University of Southern California

“Chronic pain’s impact on society is enormous. More than anything else, we need champions who will speak to the millions whose lives have been devastated. Battle for Grace answers that call.”
- Penney Cowan, executive director, American Chronic Pain Association

“Pain management is still an uncharted territory in medicine—ask anyone who has chronic pain.
Cynthia’s story is maddening, but provides hope for everyone who deals with pain and, like she, has learned to conquer an unseen enemy.”
- Tiiu Leek, actress and former Los Angeles newscaster

“Undaunted by pain, disability, or the tyranny rampant in our broken healthcare system, Cynthia tells it all in this book. She speaks with the authority of a survivor and the conviction of a saint. Purveyors of healthcare injustice beware.”
- Don Schroeder, PhD., producer, The Healthcare Solution: California OneCare, founding chapter co-director, Health Care for All–California

“Despite her incredible hardships and struggles, there is a silver lining in Cynthia’s life. She not only has a compelling story, she has that rare ability to tell it in ways that touch our hearts.  She is a beautiful, engaging and loving woman who shines a bright light on issues that have lived in darkness for too long.”
- Laura Morgan, former director of communications and chief media spokesperson, Los Angeles Times

“Cynthia’s book speaks for all women in pain. Women who not only suffer physically, but who also struggle with finding the right doctors—doctors who take them seriously and don’t brush them off with ‘it’s all in your head.’”
- Diane Hoffmann, law professor, University of Maryland, and co-author of the report, The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain

“It takes a remarkable and special individual to rise above a debilitating disease and dedicate her life to helping others. That’s Cynthia Toussaint and this goes for her man, John, as well. His commitment to Cynthia and Battle for Grace is beautiful.”
- California Senator Liz Figueroa

“Several years ago, Cynthia spoke at Women In Government’s annual conference, bringing a new, deeper understanding of pain to our membership of legislators.  I was moved to tears, and felt especially blessed to have met Cynthia shortly after I started experiencing persistent pain. Her book comforts all of us.”
- Joy Newton, founder, Women In Government

“It’s been an honor to work with Cynthia Toussaint over the past three years to forge legislation that will improve access to care for people with pain. Cynthia’s inspiring story moves the most thick-skinned legislators and brings hope and encouragement to everyone challenged by pain and difficulties.”
- U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman

“Battle for Grace tells how Cynthia Toussaint’s commitment to expose the HMO industry’s wrongdoings helped move public opinion that created historic change here in California and beyond. Her courage took her own great misfortune at the hands of a failed healthcare system to give a voice to others trapped by these profit-driven corporations.”
- Jamie Court, president, & co-author of Making A Killing: HMOs and the Threat to Your Health

“Ms. Toussaint’s testimony before the California Senate on the disparate treatment of women in pain was a pivotal event. She continues to be a strong advocate for change, particularly for a single payer system in California. Her book speaks volumes about this.”
- California Senator Sheila Kuehl

“Some stories have to be told. Cynthia Toussaint’s is one of them. This story, this life, lets the world know that it’s possible to live in pain and grow despite it.”
- Will Rowe, former executive director, American Pain Foundation

How to Order Battle for Grace

Order Battle for Grace in paperback at

Order Battle for Grace in Kindle at

Order Battle for Grace in all other e-book formats at Smashwords

“We are often asked how we’ve survived the Suicide Disease for three decades. Bottom line it’s all about love. Writing our book which reflects our love of life, our love for each other and our love for everyone who might discover how our pain and suffering transformed us from bitter, angry people into a couple who could, finally, bring new hope to ourselves and all women who suffer deeply.”
- Cynthia Toussaint and John Garrett

Media & Speaking Engagements
___________________________________—March 2015
How a Hamstring Tear Derailed a Dancer’s Life

East Windsor’s HamletHub—February 2015
Former dancer deals with debilitating chronic pain disorder—January 2015
Former Ballerina Battles For Grace in Face of Complex Chronic Pain Syndrome—January 2015
Chronic Pain Is More Prevalent than Thought. Cynthia Toussaint & John Garrett Share 411—December 2014
Cynthia Toussaint: A Ballerina’s Story Of Poise, Pain & Triumph—December 2014
Cynthia’s Story: Helping Women Who Live with Chronic Pain—December 2014
Cynthia Toussaint and John Garrett work together to fight chronic pain

7th Annual Women In Pain Conference - “Accepting Pain: Our New Normal”—September 12, 2014
Toussaint and Garrett were featured speakers

KCAA NBC Radio—September 2014
Change is in the Air

Pajama Daze Blog—August 2014
Book Review: Battle for Grace

LA Talk Radio—August 2014
The Mother Love Show

KPFK-FM (Los Angeles, CA)—August 13, 2014
Access Unlimited

Meet the Biz “40 Series”—June 29th, 2014
Toussaint and Garrett were the guest speakers

NIH Network—May 2014
9th Annual NIH Pain Consortium Symposium

9th Annual NIH Pain Consortium Symposium on Advances in Pain Research—May 2014
Toussaint was a featured speaker

National Journal—April 2014
“Stakeholders Offer Solutions to Prescription Drug Abuse” 

AMA Wire—April 2014
“Federal lawmakers receive policy recommendations to halt Rx abuse” 

Alliance to Prevent the Abuse of Medicines’ Capitol Hill Briefing—April 2014
Toussaint was the guest speaker

American Society of Pain Management Nursing’s Southern California Chapter Annual Meeting—March 2014 
Toussaint and Garrett were featured speakers—December 2013
Amid Chronic Pain: Dreams Came True

Pain Advocacy Summit: “Working Together for People With Chronic Pain”—November 2013
Toussaint and Garrett were guest panelists—September 2013
Battle for Grace: An Interview with Cynthia Toussaint

National Pain Report—September 2013
Getting Real: The Women In Pain Conference

KPFK FM (Los Angeles, CA)—September 2013
Access Unlimited

6th Annual Women In Pain Conference - “Getting Real: Transforming Hidden Truths Into Positive Action”—September 2013
Toussaint and Garrett were featured speakers—September 2013
Breaking Pointe: Going toe to toe with pain and sharing what she’s learned

KCAA 1070 AM Radio—August 2013
Change Is In the Air

PainPathways Magazine—Fall 2013
Getting Real with Pain—August 2013
Monday Mantra: Be Inspired

National Pain Report—June 2013
Why Step Therapy Needs to Stop

PainPathways Magazine—Summer 2013
“Battle for Grace: A Pain Memoir”

LA Talk Radio—May 2013
The Mother Love Show

California Assembly Health Committee Hearing on Step Therapy Bill AB 889—April 2013
Toussaint testimony in favor—April 2013
Words of Love

National Pain Report—April 2013
A Caregiver’s Journey with Pain and Self-Discovery” 

PainPathways Magazine—April 2013
A Pain-Wrecked Life… And How Recovery And Love Became Possible” 

National Pain Report—April 2013
Abused Women More Susceptible To Pain

National Pain Report—April 2013
One Woman’s Story of a 30-Year Battle with Chronic Pain

PainPathways Magazine—Spring 2013
“Sometimes You Have to Lose Everything to Find Your Life”

A Chronic Dose—March 2013
Battle for Grace

The Shriver Report—March 2013
5 New Can’t-Miss Articles—March 2013
Overcoming Suffering, Battling for Grace