Write a note on a napkin, put it in your kid’s lunch, take a picture, share it with the hashtag #Napkins4Emma, and help a Richmond father and cancer patient raise college money for his daughter.

You might already be familiar with Garth Callaghan, AKA “The Napkin Note Dad.” He’s the Richmond-area father who gave everyone big ol’ lumps in their throats earlier this year after sharing a project he’s working on to help maintain his connection with his only child, Emma, a Henrico County middle schooler.

For the sake of getting you up-to-speed, here’s a recap of Garth and Emma’s story…

Ever since Emma, started elementary school, Garth has been writing notes on napkins and placing them in her lunch box–nothing super profound, just quick messages, quotes, or little sketches to let Emma know her dad was thinking of her. 

But by the end of 2011, the notes took on a much greater significance. Since November of that year, Garth has received three cancer diagnoses: first kidney cancer, then prostate cancer in 2012, and another bout of kidney cancer–this time Stage 4–in October of 2013. According to a Huffington Post article that ran back in January, Garth has “about a 10 [percent] five-year survival rate.”

Shortly after his most recent diagnosis, Garth pledged to write enough napkin notes (826, specifically) to last Emma through her high school graduation–whether he’s able to be the one to tuck them into her lunch box or not. 

Thanks to interviews on Today, Fox and Friends, and NPR’s Here & Now, and profiles on websites like Mashable, Garth has been able to share his story on a national level, serving as a reminder of how important it is for parents to make (and keep) connections with their kids.

And now, we get to thank him for that. In a tangible way, even!

Last week,1 Garth posted an update on his website, napkinnotesdad.com, about an interaction he’d had with Bounty–you know, the Quicker-Picker-Upper paper towel people…

We were approached by Bounty to work with them on a social media campaign that would help inspire people to write Napkin Notes. They wanted to create action and have people start to write notes and then talk about the experience on Twitter. 

There were two things that moved my heart during our first conversation. The first was Bounty wanted to donate money to Emma’s college fund. I started tearing up when that was first mentioned. Secondly, they knew that I didn’t use Bounty napkins and they didn’t care. The campaign wasn’t about my product choice, it was solely focused on families, mealtime together, and being close to people.

I was floored. I am blessed. I honestly cried. Bounty was offering to help Emma.

For every #Napkins4Emma picture shared through March 31st, Bounty will donate $1 (up to $20,000) to go towards Emma’s college education. So here’s what you need to do:

  1. Write a napkin note to your child.
  2. Take a picture of it (and then put it in his/her lunch).
  3. Share the picture on Twitter with the hashtag #Napkins4Emma.

That’s it. That’s all you need to do to help a guy who when faced with the hard realities that come with a cancer diagnosis says, “Please help me inspire other parents to write to their children. Please help me inspire people to build strong relationships with other people.”

Let’s make it happen, guys.

For more information on Garth, Emma, and their story, visit napkinnotesdad.com.

  1. A big thank you to Tiffany Glass Ferreira for giving us the heads up on this! 
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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

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