Sunday, March 26, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0122 - James & Syd Birrell

Cancer brings unexpected pleasures, one of which is new friends and stories of hope in the worst of circumstances.

Syd Birrell is a father of three children, one of whom passed away from terminal cancer (neuroblastoma) at the age of eight. James Birrell's experiences in facing this terrible disease, along with his mother, father, brother, sister and innumerable friends is the subject of an amazing book and website. The book is something I have referred to earlier in my blog - Ya Can't Let Cancer Ruin Your Day. The website is James Birrell's Website. When you visit, you'll see that Tom Hanks is the honorary patron for the James Fund for Neuroblastoma Research at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

Syd Birrell found my weblog and contacted me recently to make sure I was able to find a copy of the book, something which has actually been by my bedside for a few weeks now. I must warn you, the book is hard to read. I choke back tears every time I pick it up and read a few more entries in the email that Syd sent out to family and friends throughout James's fight with cancer. But there are also incredible stories of laughter, delight, and discovery in the book.

Some day, Syd and I will get together for a good, long chat. We've already committed to do so in our correspondence. In the meantime, I hope you buy the book, visit the website, and make a donation to the fund. And most importantly, recall James's words, "I will always be fighting cancer."

God bless you Syd, your family, your friends and the work you all do for the James Fund.

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