Dad with Cancer Writes Napkin Notes for Daughter’s Future

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CHESTERFIELD (WRIC) – A local father who is battling cancer is making national headlines because of what he does every morning, while packing his daughter’s lunch.

For the past six years, Garth Callaghan has been writing a short hand written note on a napkin and dropping it in his daughter Emma’s lunch bag.

But his story whet viral recently when he was diagnosed with cancer, and he decided to write more than 600 notes which he stashed away just in case if one day he is no longer able to write new notes for his daughter Emma.

“Honestly what I do isn’t overly special,” he says. “I think that is why it is so powerful, I write notes on napkins and I put them in my Daughters lunch. I really try to make the note tailored to that day, whether there is a test or a softball game.”

Callaghan says it was just his way of connecting deeper with his daughter.

“While I am at work she is opening up her lunch and she is thinking about me.”

But when he was diagnosed with cancer, those hand-written personal notes took on a deeper meaning.

“She started saving the notes and I didn’t know that, she was saving them to save a piece of me, my first diagnosis was pretty grim.”

Callaghan has been diagnosed with cancer four separate times. After this most recent diagnosis, he worried his napkin note writing days may be numbered.

“I pre-wrote out 826 napkins that will cover Emma from Christmas Break this past year through graduation in case I can’t deliver those notes in person.”

Callaghan’s story recently went viral. His story’s been told all over the world, and he and his daughter have appeared on numerous national television programs.

Callaghan says hundreds of thousands of parents have reached out to him, telling him his story has caused them to begin doing the same thing for their child.

“Cancer has given me the opportunity to inspire other parents to do this,” he says. “If through my illness I am able to inspire 100,000…200,000… 500,000 parents to do this, that is going to make the world a lot better of a place.”

Callaghan says he won’t always he here with his daughter, but these notes written on something most of us just throw away will always be with her.

“Those notes will be here as a reminder of my love and how I want her to grow up to become a strong young woman.”

Callaghan says he hopes to be able to hand deliver that box full of the pre-written notes to his daughter at her high school graduation, as a sign that he has beat cancer.

Bounty Paper Towels has also launched a social media campaign asking other parents to take a photo of their napkin notes they are writing to their children. Post online using the hashtag #Napkins4Emma and they will donate a dollar for every post up to $20,000 to Emma’s college fund.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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