Ever since his daughter Emma started kindergarten, Garth Callaghan has been writing her tiny napkin notes every day to put into her school lunch.
Initially the notes started off as sketches or easy phrases she could understand, but as she grew older, the messages slowly evolved into thoughtful quotes or words of inspiration. And now, they’ve taken on an entirely new meaning.
According to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Callaghan, from Richmond, Va., was diagnosed with kidney cancer in the fall of 2011. Since then, his now 13-year-old daughter has been saving the notes her father has written for her in a scrapbook.
“I was really worried. I really wanted to have a piece of him with me,” Emma told the Times-Dispatch.
After battling kidney cancer, Callaghan received another devastating diagnosis of prostate cancer, a very slow-growing disease. Doctors have told him he has an 8 percent chance of surviving the next five years.
Not wanting to leave Emma without her source of inspiration, Callaghan has started working overtime, writing a stockpile of napkin notes to last her through the end of high school. His goal is to write 826 napkins, which he hopes to turn into a booklet with an epilogue for his daughter.
“At the end of the day, these notes might be the only thing my daughter has left of me,” Callaghan told the Times-Dispatch.
Callaghan has posted many of his notes on his Facebook page and on napkinnotesdad.com. Many parents have also reached out to him for advice on how to better connect with their children.