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Ill father plans to write daughter 826 notes

One Dad Turns Adversity Into a Plan to Connect With His Daughter

When 45-year-old Garth Callaghan was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, the husband and father was terrified by his grim prognosis. 'You don't want to ever have to sit down with your child and say, 'Things might not work out.''

Instead of diving into depression, Garth decided to put his energy towards finding a way to ensure he would always be in his now-14-year-old daughter's life.



The Glen Allen, Va. resident turned to his daughter's lunchbox and started writing inspirational notes on her napkins with comments like, 'The only disability in life is a bad attitude,' and
'Start before you're ready.'

Garth kept sticking them in her bags with a big goal in mind: 'I counted up the days until she graduated high school and that's when I set out to write a note for every day, so that she would have it whether I was here or not.' With about 826 days until then, he started stockpiling.

'I had hoped that at some point in time Emma would be able to look at this collection of notes and get a better understanding of who I am, as well as what I wanted her to become.'

With a few years to go until graduation, Emma, 14, considers her notes a special treasure as Garth continues to battle his illness. 'Emma started keeping some of the notes in a composition book after my first surgery, that's how this became really meaningful.'

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deborahann00 March 10 2014 at 11:21 PM

I think what Garth is doing is beautiful. Only a parent can understand his reasoning. I write out cards for my son every holiday, birthday or whenever the mood strikes me. I let him know how proud I am of him, all the fun, goofy things going on and I how much I love him. I date them and stick them in a box. One day, after I'm gone, he'll be able to read them and have a piece of my heart. I'm sorry Garth is going through this with his daughter. (I'm even more sorry there are morons like Brian in this world.) My prayers go out to you and your family.

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clarke2689 March 10 2014 at 5:21 PM

What a wonderful, brave and thoughtful father. His daughter is also very special. This is such a fantastic legacy he is leaving for his daughter. She will always have these precious memories. The entire family are special people.

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terryriddle March 10 2014 at 5:00 PM

What a positive individual. I hope he beats this illness, but know that his daughter is blessed with these notes...either way. Great story!!

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boldmother March 10 2014 at 4:40 PM

This is so beautiful! She will always have you in her heart.
How true is what Cindy Bunny had to say. Never give up!
My father was told he would Never walk again, after he broke his back about 30 yeas ago and he made those doctors take back those words because my Dad walked until he passed at 76 and I am 58 and I do not recall a day that my father was in a wheel chair or not on his own two feet! He could have given in and taken that wheel chair an probably been in it for life...but he didn't!
Love each other madly every day that he proves his doctors wrong.
What your Dad is doing is so special!!!

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CINDY BUNNY March 10 2014 at 4:20 PM

My father was diagnosed with cancer when I was a baby and he was 23. The doctor told my father he was gonna die and the only thing for him to do was to go home and enjoy his family. The doctor gave my father 3 months to live. He fought for 25 years. After every strenuous and exhausting battle with another diagnosis and another form of cancer, he survived. He survived as long as he did because he was strong, determined and extremely stubborn. He never gave in to his disease. He never gave up. Sadly, we lost my father on Thanksgiving Day 2007. As devastating as it was (and still is) my father taught me its all about strength.

Keep fighting. Stay strong. Don't give in and don't give up. Just because the doctors say its gonna kill you, don't let them seal your fate. You have a beautiful family who loves you. Live for that. Stay stubborn!

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jed9999 March 10 2014 at 3:19 PM

A very brave and insightful dad~~that's what we all want for our kids...a legacy of love

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sydgus March 10 2014 at 3:12 PM

Your daughter is a very lucky young lady to have you for her dad. Just keep loving her and she will always have that in her heart. Your notes to her will live forever. One day your grandkids will get to know you by reading those notes and hearing about you from their mother. I know you have a long life ahead of you just because you are such a loving father. Much good luck and Good health.

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msevilzbuggyluv March 10 2014 at 2:48 PM

this reminds me of that commercial where the daughter kept all the paper birds her dad made her in a box. I'm sure this young girl will keep these notes near and dear to her heart for a very long time :)

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dms2678 March 10 2014 at 2:03 PM

I hope and pray that the two of them are able to look back at those notes and read them together on the day she graduates and for many years to come.

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landskp4u March 10 2014 at 1:37 PM

May you be there to read every one of those 826 notes to her personally......

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