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I know that I haven't posted in a long time but I have kept in touch with everyones life....I am still reading and weaping. Jim'ds birthday went unnoticed by most of his family, nothing was shared with me expect for the following post by his son. I am very touched.

A Birthday Gift for My Father

Andrew Tatum

First and foremost, this article is not about the Miami Dolphins or football in general. Instead, this article is about someone who means very much to me, my father.

As some may or may not know my father, James Tatum, passed away on April 2, 2004 due to lung cancer. His birthday is today... October 9th… he would have been 48 years old. I will always remember this time last year, how proud he was of the fact that he was trying to start anew by quitting both smoking and drinking, a daunting task to quit just one. However, he tried too hard too late… the many years of smoking caught up to him and he was diagnosed with cancer.

My father was not just a father to me, he was my best friend. Undoubtedly, losing both was, and still is, one of the most difficult things I have ever been through. Some days are unbearable, but I know I must work through them… as it is what he would have wished. However, as each day came closer to today I knew that I would have to somehow try my hardest to know that I should not cry, but should try and do something positive. An impossible feat I first thought. I couldn’t help but think about how I would normally be thinking of trying my hardest to see him today. How hard it was to know that this year, unlike the previous 20 years of my life, I wouldn’t be purchasing a gift for my father.

However, I have found a way that I can still give something to my father, but in a different way. As the founder of FinHeaven & Co, I have the means to communicate a message to hundreds of thousands of people. Surely there are many other organizations out there that spread this same message, but this is something I want to do for my father, my friend.

Fact: Lung cancer doesn’t affect just smokers, it can affect anyone.

Fact: Lung cancer has been the leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women. In fact, it causes more deaths than colon, breast, and prostate cancer… combined.

Fact: Lung cancer will cause an estimated 160, 440 deaths this year.

Fact: Lung cancer patient’s five-year survival rate is the lowest of any cancer, at 15.2%.

So, what do I really hope to do with this article you ask? It’s simple. Perhaps you don’t know someone that has cancer now, but sadly it affects almost every individual in one way or another. I recall one day two years ago sitting in a class room with an American Cancer Society representative asking my class if anyone has been affected by someone with cancer, almost everyone raised their hand but me. At that time, I thought that I could possibly be one of the lucky individuals not to affected and never even dreamed of one day losing my father to this disease. Now, I hope to spread this same message to many other people, but please don’t take this as preaching. I am, however, pleading that you make yourself aware of cancer, not just lung cancer. Don’t think you can fly under the radar and not be affected as I once did, please don’t fool yourself. Cancer is a very deadly and real disease.

Take the next step and donate to programs like the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, the Moffit Cancer Center, or many other organizations. If you can’t donate, participate. I, for example, am involved in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life every year when it comes to Tampa.

As for me, all I can do is move on with life. Not a day goes by where I think about how much different it could be if I could talk to my father one last time… if I can just call him up and ask for his advice. But I can’t. However, I know he is still with me. Guiding me. Living in me.

Happy 48th Birthday Dad.



Related Websites:

Moffit Cancer Center & Research Institute

American Cancer Society

American Lung Association


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Dear Abby,

It is good to hear from you, and I hope things are going well for you. Sometimes the pain is just too much for people to share, as dumb as that is, because it only lessens when we share it. So try not to be too hard on Jim's family. I know there is pain there, but try to be open to them.

That was a magnificent post by his son. I am sure Jim is proud. Take care, and keep stopping in from time to time. And give me a ring if ever you want. It would be nice to talk and not bawl sometime. But bawling is fine too if that is what we need.


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What a wonderful tribute! I know how hard this is for you. I sometimes wonder if I am the only one that is remembering special dates and days. It seems almost every morning I wake up and think about where we were in Dennis's treatment at this time of year. I cannot believe it has been almost two years ago now! Keeping you im my prayers!!!

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Hi Abby,

I, too, have thought of you often. I recall all of your previous posts and know that the loss of Jim was very devastating for you. I'm glad to see you posting and pray that you are beginning to feel a little better.

That is an absolutely wonderful, well-written, touching article that his son wrote. What an honor to your wonderful husband and his wonderful father!

Please stay in touch with us.



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