Garth Callaghan, a Dying Dad, Writes 826 Notes to His Daughter

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 01:05 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Garth Callaghan, who is dying with cancer, started writing 826 inspirational notes on napkins for his daughter and admitted it inspired him to write a book for other parents.

Callaghan, of Glen Allen, Va., has been diagnosed with cancer three times in the last two years and only has an eight percent chance of surviving over the next five years, according to's Alan White.

Callaghan told he got the idea when his daughter Emma was younger. Callaghan said a sales job didn't allow him to see her often, so he would write notes on a napkin to leave in her lunch box.

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The notes to his daughter range from personal ones to inspirational phrases from everyone from Maya Angelou, Henry Food, Billie Jean King, Babe Ruth and Yoda from "Star Wars." The note project had led to a website and Twitter feed.

Time magazine reported that Callaghan created a Facebook page in September and published a Kindle eBook in hopes to inspire more parents to "Pack. Write. Connect" or adopt similar efforts at home.

"Garth Callaghan has been crafting lunches and notes since his daughter, Emma, was a small child. As she grew older, the notes became more meaningful," says the description of the ebook "Napkin Notes." "Shortly after she turned 12, the notes became a legacy in their family. Garth had been diagnosed with kidney cancer and was given a grim prognosis."

"Emma started saving the notes in the hopes of keeping a piece of her dad. When Garth saw how she was saving them, they came up with the idea to catalog the notes for other parents to copy," says the book description.

Callaghan seemed to have inspired others on Twitters, who found his efforts moving.

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