Many years ago, I was introduced to the most remarkable family.

I was handed a book called Ya Can’t Let Cancer Ruin Your Day: The James Emails, a book that intimately reveals a parent’s worst nightmare.

I read the book in less than 48 hours. I honestly couldn’t put it down. I sobbed and sobbed and was forever changed by the words on those pages.The story of James Birrell, made me a better parent. His story, his family’s story is my “reset”, it is my perspective. Whenever I think I’m having a bad day, I think about the Birrell’s and what they’ve been through.

James Birrell was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when he was three years old.

He passed away when he was eight.

His Dad, Syd Birrell wrote a book about the journey and he and his family founded The James Fund. The James Fund is an international organization that raises money for neuroblastoma research in honour of James Birrell.

Ten years ago, a golf tournament was created in James hometown, Peterborough, Ontario, to raise money for families dealing with neuroblastoma. The cascade effect of a sick child is huge. The entire family is deeply impacted by the illness. I began volunteering with the tournament years ago and the money raised from this event helps so many families.

Related: MF’s Shaky Golf Cart Drive By: Jennifer MacKenzie’s Story

The James Fund is an organization I, along with many people feel very passionate about. Michael Burgess, who sadly passed away in 2015 was the honorary chair of this tournament. Everyone who is involved with this organization is deeply connected and motivated purely by the passion to help these families.

This year is the tournament’s 10th anniversary. The 10th Annual Nexicom James Fund Golf Classic is Monday June 5th at the Kawartha Golf and Country Club in Peterborough, Ontario. The day is fun and emotional.  It’s teams of four and some great friendships are made on the course. The tournament is unique. There’s an amazing dinner featuring freshly shucked oysters, awesome silent and live auction items including a vintage typewriter from Tom Hanks typewriter collection. Did I mention that Tom Hanks is the Honorary Chair of The James Fund. Yes, he used to type letters to James and the entire Birrell family with his collection of world famous vintage typewriters.

James was kind of a big deal, and his legacy is no different.

If you are not a local reader, and can’t take part in the tournament, I ask that you still share this post and listen to Rebecca’s story in this week’s episode of MF’s Trans Canada Nissan Drive By.

Rebecca Birrell, is James’ older sister. She is poetic, beautiful, talented, and shares her incredible insight on managing grief and loss. Rebecca will also be guest speaking at this year’s dinner.

Watch the vlog, share this post, and click here if you would like to register for the 10th Annual Nexicom James Fund Golf Classic, just come for dinner or donate an item for the silent or live auction. Thank you to Rebecca for sharing her story and to the Birrell family for allowing me to be a part of James’ legacy to help other families who are dealing with neuroblastoma.

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