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I Met the Napkin Notes Dad

After you get a cancer diagnosis, the people who help you the most are people who have been through the super fun experience you’re going through. Misery likes company, and with a cancer diagnosis, it’s no different.

I sought out many people, or they found me, and I gained a lot of strength from hearing their stories and learning from their experiences. I wanted to talk to people who had walked in my path. Seeing people who had gone through it, and who had come out the other side helped a lot.

It gave me strength.

And comfort.

And made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

Before I ever knew I was going to have to deal with breast cancer, I started following a man on Facebook named Garth Callaghan. Maybe it was because he lived in Richmond, where I’m from, or because he has a daughter the same age as Zoe, but I was drawn to him.

He was battling kidney cancer, and was talking about the importance of taking the time each day to connect with the people you love.

His book, Napkin Notes, focuses on taking the time to connect to your children each day by writing a note and putting it into their lunch box.

His message: Pack, Write, Connect, really spoke to me, and I started to put notes inside my kids lunch boxes as much as possible.

After I was diagnosed, I continued to follow him, but this time his words spoke to me in a different way.

napkin notes bookA couple of months ago, when I was thinking about starting Crazy Perfect Life, I reached out to him, during a trip to Richmond, and he was incredibly willing to meet with me. We spent over an hour together, and I will never forget his kindness. He is an amazingly strong man, with a very giving heart, and his willingness to meet me, answer my questions, and give me helpful tips was very generous. He didn’t owe me anything. He didn’t know me, and he was even going out of town the next day. But he was happy to talk with me, and I will always remember it.

He said he felt he owed it to people coming up behind him, and I know what he meant. It’s a role I find myself in now. I’m happy to help anyone going through a cancer diagnosis. Garth continues to fight the good fight each day, and his strength, positivity, and desire to help others is remarkable. He continues to touch so many lives, even while having to deal with taking a daily chemo pill which has unpleasant side effects.

But he doesn’t let that stop him, or all the good he wants to do.

Thank you, Garth, for teaching us all what really matters in life: connecting to the people we love, everyday, no matter how busy we are. We have a choice each day, regardless of how we feel, what we have on our schedules, or how hard life is.

You’re an inspiration to me, to us all, and I am glad I got to meet you.

Check out his amazing book, Napkin Notes. You’ll be glad you did.

Find meaning each day,