Hazel Grace starts her story by telling us that her mother thinks she’s depressed. Hazel doesn’t deny that she’s a little fixated on death. She considers just about everything, including her cancer, a side effect of dying. Her mother and doctor agreed she should attend a weekly cancer support group.
The leader of the support group is a cancer survivor named Patrick who constantly talks about the fact that they meet in the heart of Jesus since the group meets in the basement of a cross-shaped church, directly at the spot where Jesus’ heart would be. Despite his surviving cancer, Hazel views his life as dreary. In the meeting, Hazel introduces herself. She is sixteen and originally had thyroid cancer, though it’s spread to her lungs, too. Hazel equates the sharing part of group to a circle jerk of support where everyone talks about how they’re winning the fight. The only part of support group she likes is a guy named Isaac who lost an eye to cancer and may lose his remaining eye as well.
They both sigh derisively at people’s stories.