Terminally Ill Dad Composes Over 800 Letters To Daughter For Future

THECOUNT.COM "ALWAYS OPEN! Since 2005!" - January 27, 2014

Maybe you’ve left a note behind to a loved one reminding them of something, or just to say I love you. Enter Garth Callaghan, the man who started slipping notes into his daughter Emma’s lunchbox when she was in kindergarten. She wasn’t old enough to read, so he kept the notes.

dad leaves notes

Today, Callaghan’s daughter is in eighth grade and she has come to depend on those brief missives as a daily affirmations — and a reminder to never take her dad for granted.


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Callaghan, 44, has battled kidney cancer twice over the last several years and currently lives with prostate cancer, a slow-growing disease. Recent blood work shows “no evidence” of kidney cancer these days, but Callaghan said his oncologist has bluntly told him that people with his medical history only have an eight percent change of surviving the next five years.

2D11438153-notes3.blocks_desktop_medium“This isn’t a story about cancer, because any parent at any time could be hit by a car or have a heart attack,” he said, explaining to TODAY.com about why he continues to write “napkin notes” to his daughter. “This is really about leaving a legacy so that she can understand some of my life philosophies and how much I love her.”

The Today Show is reporting Callaghan is now striving to reach a goal of writing 826 napkin notes, one for each school day his daughter has left until her high school graduation. He came up with the goal after reading an article about “because I said I would,” a non-profit group that stresses the importance of keeping promises.

“That’s when I thought, I can write out napkin notes ahead of time, and have them ready if I can’t fulfill my own promise if something bad happens,” he said.

Callaghan has only about 40 notes left to write.. Way to go pops.

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