In his novel, Mensache recalled his life as a high school teacher who, despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer while still in his thirties, continued to follow his profession and as his health deteriorated, took of on a road trip.
David Menasche, an English literature teacher in Coral Reef, Senior High School in South Miami-Dade, Florida, was just 34 years old when he was diagnosed in 2006 with cancer of the brain, with his doctors estimating his life expectancy to be just a few months.
Menasche didn’t give in to the cancer easily and as a result of three extensive surgeries, two and a half years of debilitating chemotherapy, and countless rounds of radiation, he managed to lead a relatively active life for more than six years.
In 2012, David was finally unable to continue teaching after suffering a devastating brain seizure, which gradually impaired his major senses, particularly his vision and his short-term memory whilst severely hampering his inability to get around.
However, David Menasche was not ready to give up the struggle to live his life as he saw fit, deciding that he would embark on a road trip across the United States during which he would make contact with former students who had touched his life during his 15-year teaching career, as well as to help him come to terms with his illness.
Before setting off on his adventure David decided that he would make contact with his former students, and would utilize the power of social media, in particular Facebook to test the reaction to his brave plan of seeing firsthand how the pupils he had known during his fifteen year long teaching career were faring in life.
Within forty-eight hours of David posting details of his intended road trip, he had been contacted by no less than 73 former students spread out throughout the United States, each of them offering support and shelter.
The road trip, which started off from David’s home city of Miami and continuing through New York, later crossing the heartland of America until culminating at San Francisco’s Golden Gate. During the course of his almost two-year journey David Menasche not only succeeded in visiting hundreds of his students, but also writing about his experiences on the 101 day long journey, covering 31 cities, as well as on how each meeting went with his students.
David Menasche’s journey which he painstakingly detailed in his autobiography – The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons, using voice recognition technology, as he was no longer able to type.
The Priority List was published only in January of this year by Touchstone Books has already captured the attention of major film studios with Warner Bros. Pictures recently announcing that they have picked up the film rights for David Menasche’s memoir, with one of Hollywood’s most popular character actors Steve Carell hasn’t only been signed up to take the role of Menasche in the movie, but also to co-produce it in conjunction with Charlie Hartsock and Vance DeGeneres of Carousel Productions.
David ‘s heart rending story which has captured the imagination of millions of Americans will hopefully be appearing on the big screen sometime in the next 12 months, with Menasche himself hopefully continuing to defeat the odds and still being around to attend its Premier.