Ya Can't Let Cancer Ruin Your Day: The James Emails by Syd BirrellYa Can't Let Cancer Ruin Your Day: The James Emails by Syd Birrell

Ya Can't Let Cancer Ruin Your Day: The James Emails

bySyd Birrell

Paperback | February 1, 2006

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This is a book about a family who chose to make their dreams a reality every day, because they never knew if there would be another day for their young son James as he fought cancer. Some dreams were easy to fulfill (going to the farm, or dinner at the top of the CN Tower) and others were outrageous (Dad, I'd like to drive a freight train that's pulling a hundred cars!), but the result was life lived to the fullest – and an inspirational book called “Ya Can’t Let Cancer Ruin Your Day – The James Emails,” by Syd Birrell.

"I began writing emails to family and close friends to keep them up to date on James' condition," said Syd, "but soon I found myself drifting away from stark summaries of the medical challenges of the day, and instead began writing about our adventures in living. Our young daughter Rebecca said 'Just because you have cancer doesn’t mean you stop having good times.' So we put aside our grief and fear, and every day we looked for opportunities to live our dreams." Syd Birrell

"Reading these letters is an extraordinary experience. What can a parent say as he watches his child battle with a deadly disease? Syd's words take us into an intimate engagement with that challenge. Perhaps a more intimate engagement than most of us are prepared for. But what we discover here is not only the anguish and fear we might expect. The steady recognition of pain and vulnerability gives us the necessary background for the astonishing discoveries that these letters convey. The real point is how much else is discovered in this candid facing of a child's (and of our own) mortality.

We still have no cure for neuroblastoma. But in the courage and the honesty and the love and the generosity of others and the sense of community and the workings of faith that Syd discovers--and so movingly explores-- in theses letters, we discover that which enables and encourages us to live and work in hope and joy.Prof. David Glassco, Trent University
The life of Syd Birrell is a coat of many colours. He was born in Sarnia, Ontario and educated in Canada and England, where he studied at the Royal College of Music. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and in his hometown of Peterborough, Ontario, Director of Music at Murray Street Baptist Church and organist at Lakefield ...
Title:Ya Can't Let Cancer Ruin Your Day: The James EmailsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:348 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.75 inPublished:February 1, 2006Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0973808004

ISBN - 13:9780973808001

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A journey worth taking Accompanying a child dying of cancer is a journey nobody would choose to be on, an adventure trip that is too scary, unpredictable and heart wrenching to face up to. By publishing his James emails Syd Birrell extended both his hands to us and helped us share an experience we'd rather avoid than deliberately run into. Thank you, Syd, for saving us a seat on your roller-coaster ride of grief and joy. I felt secure and well looked after. If I ever have to make such a journey on my own , I'll be prepared.
Date published: 2006-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Strangely, deeply compelling This book sneaks up on you. The email format is raw and real, plunging you into the lives of a kid with cancer, James, and his loving family. How they cope with cancer is nothing short of remarkable and deeply compelling. There is such humanity and humour in the progress of the illness. You'd think it would be depressing; it isn't. It's inspiring. Makes you want to play hookey from work and go on an adventure.
Date published: 2006-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nola Wilson The James Book is a moving testament to the Birrell family and their valiant fight against neuroblastoma. If only more of us could have the foresight that the Birrell family had to put all other things aside in order to plan and execute days full of irreplacable memories, there would not be so many of us wishing we had . As for little James himself, he was a child with inspirational fortitude, incredible patience, and dogged determination. Syd Birrell has opened the door to his family's most intimate and precious moments... showing us the glorious high's and heartbreaking low's that accompany a terminal illness - I could not put it down... nor did I want to.
Date published: 2006-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Little Boy This is a great book, I could not put it down. It is emotional, inspiring, and even informative. James had to endure so much at such a young age, but he was still so postive and wise beyond his years. I am happy that James managed to have many exciting adventures along the way, and that he really didn't let cancer ruin his day.
Date published: 2006-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book to read and re-read often! It's hard to describe a book about a dying child as inspirational and uplifting, but this poignant true story shows each of us the importance of truly living each day to its fullest. In his short life, James Birrell seems to have really understood how to do that. His family opens their hearts to us with the reality of living with cancer, no suger-coating here, and yet, this book manages to have a positive message that shines, despite the brutality of this disease. It's the kind of book you need to read if you have lost a loved one to cancer, if a loved one HAS cancer, or if you just want a reminder of what is really important in life. Ya Can't let Cancer ruin your day... get your tissues ready, and fall in love with little James.
Date published: 2006-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring... This book has something for everyone... whether you are coping with the crisis of cancer, or just trying to make time with your family a priority in your life. Reading this book, you can't help but look at your own life and re-evaluate your priorities. This is a story of how a family afflicted with cancer, become active cancer research advocates, and in the process make their family life more rewarding.
Date published: 2006-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from When cancer's not a dirty word This is a book for every one and for every occasion. It's in equal parts funny, inspiring, heart-wrenching and even a little bit sad. But mostly it's a challenge to all who read it to live life one moment at a time, but not selfishly - for and with your family and those you love and who love you. In this book, cancer 's not such a dirty word. Still scary and horrific, but a call to action instead of a reason to cower. I hope everyone reads it, and that everyone who does is inspired to live a little more a little more often, to fear a little less, and to help the fight to rid children of neuroblastoma.
Date published: 2006-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very moving and very real This book will make you laugh and cry and rejoice at the love one little family can generate among themselves and the community. A very special story about very special people. Read it and pass it on!
Date published: 2006-01-16

Read from the Book

Foreword by Tom HanksOver the telephone, the voice of a little boy carries only his enthusiasm for the subject of the conversation – rocket ships, movies, railroad trains, and the other stuff that boys find fascinating. There is not talk of the doctor reports, the statistics, or the schedule of treatments – just the questions and opinions that blurt forth from the mouth and mind of a little boy like James Birrell.The photographs will give you hints of his struggle, some more evident than others. But even in the pictures you can spot the obvious signs of a happy kid in love with life as much as he is in love with his family – the sunbeam smile, the cocked engineer’s cap, and the look of satisfaction for a well made snowman. The whole family is there as well: Syd and Pam, Ben and Rebecca. And James.This book of the emails about James will tell you his story from all 360 degrees of perspective. And yes, some days and nights were so painful that you would not wish them on anyone. But there are other times – magical days and God-given nights of love, beauty, laughter and awe – that will make you wish that you were one of the Birrell family. You will get to know all the Birrells, as well as plenty of people in their community, all of whom have come to know that their lives have been made a bit more special because James has become a part of their hearts.And even better, these emails will allow you the pleasure of getting to know the little boy behind the cocked engineer’s cap. He’ll find a place in your heart as well. And like all great loves, James will be there forever. Tom Hanks