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Glen Allen, VA 23060


Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad




The Promise


The Napkin Notes Blog

The Promise

WGarth Callaghan

Four years ago I made a promise, and the direction of my life would change. More importantly, Emma would know how much I loved and supported her, even if I wasn't able to be here.

I had just been diagnosed with cancer for my 3rd time (a 4th was coming up, but I didn't know that.). My doctors started to talk about the seriousness of metastatic kidney cancer. I learned the five year survival rate was about 8%. Coincidentally, Emma still had about 5 years of school ahead of her; five years of lunches; five years of notes.

My promise: I will write 826 Napkin Notes for Emma.

I did. It took me a little bit, but I wrote them all out.

All because I happened to read about Alex Sheen and Because I said I would. in a magazine on a Southwest Airline flight.

I thought fulfilling that promise would be easy. It's just paper, pen, and quotes, right? It was harder than I imagined. I had to keep it a secret from both Emma and Lissa. I didn't want them to think I was contemplating my death. I wrote in the dark of night or when they weren't around.

The notes sit today in a box for safekeeping, just in case I die.

But my plan is to be able to give them to her in 206 days when she graduates high school.

I just started my 45th month of daily chemo. I am going strong. (Well, as strong as a chemo patient can be!) I think I'll make it to graduation.

Thank you for being part of our community. We couldn't do this without you.

Pack. Write. Connect.