Possibilities Book by Turner Simkins | Now available at Amazon.com and Walmart Possibilities Book by Turner Simkins | Now available at Amazon.com and Walmart
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Ten percent of author royalties benefit the Press On Fund for research initiatives at St Jude Children's Research Hospital. The author is co-founder of Press On which has donated over $1mm to research at St. Jude since 2012

Press On and St Jude's Children's Research Press On and St Jude's Children's Research

In Praise of Turner Simkins


by Hampton Sides, bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice 

The long ordeal that Brennan Simkins and his family have faced down is off-the-charts extraordinary, yet it is also one of universal resonance. Luckily, Brennan’s father was there to lovingly document every moment. Turner Simkins’ candid, raw account from the medical trenches will sadden and gladden your heart. But mostly it will inspire. In these immensely moving and sometimes soul-wre​n​ching pages, we’re reminded anew of the power of family—and of the miraculous things that can happen when a brave patient embraces life in all its fragile beauty.

Hampton Sides is an acclaimed journalist and the author of the bestselling histories Ghost Soldiers, Blood and Thunder, Hellhound On His Trail and, most recently, In the Kingdom of Ice.


by WM. Paul Young, bestselling author of The Shack, Crossroads and Eve

Possibilities is an unforgettable and powerful account of the untiring strength of love and beauty in life’s most challenging circumstances.  This book is wonderfully written, inspiring and tremendously moving.  It is heartening to know that tangible breakthroughs in pediatric cancer research, like trials funded by the Simkins Family’s Press On Fund, are making a difference because of this real life story.


by William E. Evans, CEO of St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 2004-2014

Rarely does one get such an “inside out” view of treatment for an aggressive cancer, with all its attendant trials and tribulations, and how small victories and crushing defeats affect patients and their families. And never before has such a compelling story been told about a child’s battle against cancer, as Mr. Simkins has done in this marvelously insightful story about his son Brennan’s will and determination to conquer childhood AML. His story weaves a fabric from the frequently segregated threads of science and religion, medicine and war, perseverance and desperation. Yet this story is about much more than overcoming cancer, it is about a child’s courage, a family’s fierceness, and a hospital’s will to push the boundaries of contemporary treatment. It is also about the power of human connections, and synergies that emerge when those who are providing the treatment also care deeply about the persons for whom they are caring. During my decade as CEO of St. Jude, I stressed the importance of our culture of compassion, collaboration, innovation and quality in all we do. It is gratifying to see how these organizational traits, when coupled with the brilliance of our people and the determination of our patients and families, translates into success against overwhelming odds. Indeed, the enormous progress in curing childhood leukemia has been enabled by the courage of thousands of children and the willingness of their parents to participate in clinical trials of previously untested treatments. But occasionally there are moments when the forefront of science and medicine is moved forward by a single child who leads the charge and pushes the battle front to more favorable ground. Brennan and his Band of Brothers show us the courage that is required and the potential rewards that await a successful battle at the forefront of science and medicine.

William E. Evans, CEO of St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 2004-2014


Kirkus Review

BOOK REVIEW Drawing from his blog posts, a father recounts the life-changing battle waged against his young son’s leukemia. In 2009, Simkins’ middle son, Brennan, had just turned 7 when he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia that required a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. Sadly, while it at first seemed that the cancer was in remission after Brennan underwent treatment in a hospital near the family’s Georgia home, the cancer crept back. Medical professionals told Simkins and his wife that further treatment would be risky, and they should prepare for their child’s death. Instead, the family relocated to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, where Brennan ended up receiving a record four stem cell transplants. Simkins began to blog soon after Brennan’s diagnosis; this memoir is an adaptation of those chronologically dated entries. He details his son’s fight against cancer and an array of distressing setbacks, which included the emergence of a brain cyst and Brennan being put into a medical coma, as well as how the Band of Brothers story became a resonating metaphor for the family. Simkins also details relationships forged with pediatric cancer patients, their parents, doctors, and most significantly, his own fluctuating moods of faith and despair. By 2012, the family was finally back at home, with Brennan now stable in fourth remission, with Simkins realizing the experience had also unleashed “the capacity to awaken, to seek, and truly experience life.” Simkins, who spent time as a newspaper reporter and now runs an advertising firm, offers an intensely honest account of the horrors and hope that face a parent whose child has cancer. His narrative is a testament to the importance of seeking out additional medical opinions while harnessing the power of family and prayer. Simkins admits in his foreword that his account may be too downbeat and overly detailed, but his memoir is nevertheless an absorbing, suspenseful read, complete with a heartbreaking dramatic crescendo as Brennan recovers but others do not. A harrowing, ultimately inspiring cancer journal.

by Richard Rohr

Two things transform us: Great love and great suffering. Possibilities tells the story of how the Simkins family is confronted by great suffering, feeling into it with great love, which brought about true healing. That this healing coincides with physical restoration is a truly joyous gift, but I trust that these pages will speak to you wherever you’re at, in the midst of gain and loss. Stories like this make us proud to be human beings, and assure us of the presence of a good God.”
– Richard Rohr, OFM; founder, The Center for Action and Contemplation; author, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation.

by Baxter Kruger

A gut-wrenching journey of the eternal grit of the blessed Trinity inside a lad’s irrepressible soul, surrounded by a thousand hearts and hands and minds joined as one in relentless love to defeat death—again, and again, and again, and again.  Life cannot die.  Everyone on earth should read this book.

C. Baxter Kruger, Author of the International Bestseller, The Shack Revisited, and Patmos


by Marshall Boswell

This harrowing, moving, and ultimately uplifting book is more than a dramatic account of one family’s war with leukemia.  It’s also a thoughtful meditation on the priceless rewards and sometimes unbearable weight of parenthood.  Novelistic in its narrative momentum and profound in its unflinching confrontation with death,Possibilities is an unforgettable reading experience.

Marshall Boswell is the author of Trouble with Girls and Alternative Atlanta, and is the English & Creative Writing Chair at Rhodes College.


by Jack and Barbara Nicklaus

Through Brennan’s  “ups and downs” with cancer – his little spirit — as his father, Turner, is quotedas saying — “has taught us that a miracle is not necessarily an unbelievable event, but ratherhow we respond to what is placed before us every day.”  You will laugh and cry as you share the emotions that Mom and Dad (Turner and Tara), and brothers Nat and Christopher AND Brennan have shared with all of us. Life is so precious!

 Jack Nicklaus, recognized as the greatest professional golfer of all time, and his wife Barbara founded the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation in 2004, in an effort to provide families access to world-class pediatric healthcare.

 by Peyton Manning

“I was inspired by this boy when he was fighting for his life.  And I am inspired by him now as he has proven that anything is possible if you believe in it.”
 Peyton Manning is an American football star. He established the Peyback Foundation to help disadvantaged children in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Indiana. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis renamed its children’s hospital in 2007 to “Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent”. He is a member of the Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet.

by Don Rhodes

This is a beautiful, warm, sensitive and anguishing portrayal of what the author’s family experienced,  and what any family who has a child stricken with cancer, will experience. If you don’t cry at certain parts of this story or laugh at others, then you need to get your heart checked.  But at the book’s conclusion, you should have a feeling of hope that miracles do and can happen when all the medical and spiritual elements are in line.  Possibilities is not only about the power of faith, it is a very detailed and powerful documentation of how such a negative experience can be turned into something wonderful. To this generation, Turner Simkins’ book is a celebration of a child given a second chance at becoming an adult. It is a must read for any parent, whether their child is seriously ill or amazingly healthy; simple as that.

Don Rhodes is the author of nationally distributed books and syndicated columns including   Say It Loud!: My Memories of James Brown, Soul Brother No. 1 and Ty Cobb: Safe At Home and the long running “Ramblin Rhodes” column


by Randy Pope

Real, insightful, inspiring, informative. Read this book and plan to never look at life, whether extremely difficult or unusually easy, in the same way. And expect to forever see those battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases with fresh eyes. Don’t just read Possibilities but give it to others. You will have done them a great favor.

 

Randy Pope is an author and Pastor of Perimeter Church, Johns Creek, GA


by Rebecca Finlayson

Turner Simkins’ lyrical and literary narrative of living within the chaos and fear that surrounds any family with a terminally ill child is not only moving for its emotional depth but also for its everydayness. Possibilities captures the trauma of confronting a child’s cancer at the same time that it reveals the ongoing rewards and heartaches of family life that all parents share. The contrast between battling an often abstract and elusive enemy and maintaining the critical togetherness of brothers pushes Simkins—and no doubt his readers—to feel the broadest range of joy, despair, and, yes, possibility.
Rebecca Finlayson is the Director of College Writing at Rhodes College with a doctorate in Early Modern literature fro Emory University

by Sir Timothy Bartel Smit

This book which appears at first to be about a family coming to terms with tremendous jeopardy is an extraordinary intimate examination of a journey into what it is to be human, what it is to question everything, to knock it down and then, start over by building on the solid foundations of love, family and a community created under pressure. For me this was immensely powerful and left me full of admiration for the Simkins family and moreover, questioning many things myself. A gift.
Sir Timothy Smit, famous for his work on the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project, both in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom

 


FROM SIMKINS BLOG READERS


 

by Ginna Inge

In the midst of your suffering God has changed us all to be that beautiful picture of His grace. You both have walked through this with grace, faith, love, wisdom, gently and humbly. We have learned from you! And we have learned from Brennan–perseverance which leads to the hope that does not disappoint. You have blessed us all.


by Marti Digby

Turner, you touch the very heart and soul of each who have taken this journey in your shadow. Your strength teaches us all to look forward. You are all loved so deeply. 


by Mark Hance

Turner’s writings serve a purpose– besides informing those of us who care about the details of the ongoing battles that Brennan and his family brave–the writings inform everyone who reads them how precious the time of the the lives they’ve been given mean. Many of us have children of our own, and as a father of a little girl the same age as Brennan, Turner’s continuing to share of he and his family’s struggles help, at least speaking for myself, to keep whatever personal struggles in perspective. I’ve been unemployed for three years, and I have a tendency to want to consider myself a victim of some kind of cosmic tragedy. However, when I read about what T’s family is going through I instantly check myself, snap up straight, and realize that whatever I’m going through, it is nothing compared to what Turner and his family are facing every day. I pray to God that I never have to face what he is facing but I also pray that whatever faith he has found that I may find also because it would seem that it is through this faith that he has remained a source of strength through his family’s travails.


by Pastor Kitty Newton / Brick UMC / Sylvania GA

Turner, what a beautiful description of your family’s journey and the lessons both you and those of us who love you have learned. I particularly appreciate your comment that “the very spirit of the cancer was harnessed for the purpose of living for another day”. How insightful and what a message of hope for all those who refuse to give in or give up, but rather, have chosen to look to the future with renewed hope every day.


by Jim James

We can all scarcely imagine what you have been been through as a family. But new life and vitality have sprang forth, and we are so grateful for all we have learned from you and Brennan. God’s grace, his love, and especially his hope are never ordinary. They are extraordinary – just like your beautiful family and incredible son.

May God continue to bless you all.


by Shana Witte

Very few people have such strength and tenacity as Brennan, even fewer possess those traits along with such courage and gratefulness. Brennan is a true inspiration. I love reading your blog and I’m so touched by Brennan’s and your family’s story. The strength you all provide each other is a true testament how family and friends should treat each other.


by Scottie Lindsay

Thank you for how the changes in your lives have changed your readers even though we wish above all that you hadn’t had to experience them. Many blessings always.


by Kay Jesse

Brennan’s story is so inspiring to us all. No matter what, we can all look to that little boy and realize that if he can do it, we can do it, with God’s help and the love of friends and family. Press on!


by Alison Kelleher

Thank you Turner. Both Patrick & Brennan have taught so many adults the beauty of life and how we should all love. We thank you all for sharing the journey and teaching us these wonderful lessons. Love to all of you.


Clay Allen

Turner

I don’t always post back to your insightful and heartfelt blogs, but I am often awestruck with your perspective while enduring all that life has thrown to you and your family. Your posts truly show the appreciation of life and its tiny details…from the small daily miracles of being able to witness the lego “war” in your den to the tragedies that occur within this difficult circle that you have been a part of for the last several years.


by Robin Scott

No adequate words to express my appreciation for your willingness to share your family’s total and intimate experiences with childhood cancer. I have learned more about life and death through your writings than through my own personal experiences. God has used you as a messenger, a teacher…to share with us in believable, descriptive words…exquisite moments of great love, excruciating pain, penetrable fear…so that we might learn more of His grace, His unconditional and never ending love. Thank you. Thank you so very much. Four years ago, my husband died a shattering death, three weeks later my mother was dx’d with leukemia. Shortly after that my younger son was hospitalized with acute liver failure from which he has recovered about 75% and we wait for a transplant, and last summer my older son almost died from intestinal issues aggravated by his most recent tour in Afghanistan. I have struggled, and failed, but God led me to Brennan’s page…and your words.


by Emmy Cerveny

You have once again blown me away with your sensitivity and compassion-your ability to express in words what you are feeling deep within .it is a gift. and I am so blessed each time I read your updates. I cannot imagine the sorrow over Patrick’s death-but the beauty of his life has enriched mine as have you Tara and the Band of Brothers-I always savor each time with my grandchildren more-with my friends more -with everyone I meet more after having spent time in a holy place: the holy place of your writing. Thank you Turner, God Bless you Tara and the band of Brothers! you are amazing!! So is our Mighty God!


by James (Jim) Flavell

A Most Wonderful Thanksgiving Message. Thank you for sharing the intimacies of your lives, and for inspiring so much in so many of us along the way. Tonight we are thankful for Brennan, his two loving brothers, and the beautiful love of a mom and a dad.


by Joyce Falcon

Tara, there is a a meaningful message for each of us in your inspiring revelation of what is happening on Brennan’s journey. Your words of wisdom are a wonderful gift. Thanks for sharing. Prayers continue to be with Brennan and the rest of the family for peace and courage to prevail. 


by Jennifer Eidt

Wow. A true blessing to all who read. And your wife and children draw so many things from your faith. As do all of us who have prayed for years with you and still seek the news you provide on your living miracle. Thank you!


by Dennis and Vicki Smith

To Brennan: Welcome home! We are not sure if you can truly understand the strength and courage you have shown and given to so many people literally all over this world, but know that you are a true inspiration to many people. Take care and keep up the good work.


by Ingram Link

I am sure you have been told a thousand times but let me say it once more – these care page postings have to be put into a book! You have an incredible story and have a God given gift for expressing all that is happening!We continue to pray for Brennan and your family and breath a sigh of relief that you are all home together in Augusta!


by Tanya Strickland

Turner: Reading this moved me to tears. It is truly beautiful. While I know it may not be the last one, it felt that way. A new beginning is underway. I am sure someone has already approached you about publishing a book from these updates. Please do. In my humble opinion, I think you have found your true calling in this process, a writer. If you think so too, you should pursue that with a passion. The world needs to hear your voice so that you and your family can inspire others to live life in appreciation for every moment received with hope, grace and love under any circumstance imaginable. I am glad you are all home. I never doubted you would all reach this point, and that is because of your inspiring and transformational family updates. Every person that you shared with us in these posts during Brennan’s struggle are hero’s we have come to know, but you, Tara, Nat, Christopher and Brennan’s love and faith in God and each other is the glue that held all of us following along together as we read your posts.


by Kristin Connor

Turner, As usual after reading, I am overwhelmed with emotion and unable to find words. My heart aches for Cassidy and her family and yours…I really understand that they are family…I pray for your transition home and for your three special boys and always for you and Tara. Press On…


by Jane Leonard

Turner, your gift of expression via all the carepages, yet again brings me chillbumps,and today, tears of joy


by William King

Turner, I can’t tell you how much I’ve received from following Brennan’s journey through your eyes the past year. Very grounding for me and a pointed reminder of what’s important in life. I am so happy for him and your family and will continue to pray for you all. I hope to meet Brennan some day.


by Debbie LaHatte

God Bless you and your family for all you have given to your readers, and for the honor of being soldiers in your fight. Gods blessings come in strange and often horrific ways, however in the end it is his strength, bravery and compassion, channeled through Brennan that is the gift. Thank You from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to share in this miracle. Hip Hip Hooray you are all coming home!


by Christine Landers

Dear Simkins Family,

I have been following your family and your posts since January when my husband became critically ill with Lymphoma which put him on life support and in ICU for 13 weeks. I had a true a-ha moment reading your posts as I was struggling to find the new normal for our family (we have 2 boys ages 3, 5) and thought that you all had a done a beautiful job. My husband is preparing for his first bone marrow transplant and Brennan has given us so much hope and strength as we being this part of our journey. I wish you well as you home and you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for letting us go on this incredible journey with your family.


by Lisa Maddox

Turner and Tara, there is so much to say, but even so much more to be grateful for. I am in awe of all of you! You are a wonderful family with 3 extremely precious and treasured gifts! Turner, I only know you through Tara and the words that you write. I am so touched that you pour out your soul and share your thoughts, feelings, insecurities, dark times and triumphs with all of us. We have all been touched and changed, not only though the resilience and strength of your little band of brothers, but also through the struggles of two parents, trusting and leaning on each other and your support system, to write a new page in the storybook of your lives and to continue to press-on. Your strength and desire to not give up has been passed on to Brennan and back to you guys again.


by Barbara Nicklaus

Wow!!!!! We send more love and more prayers to all. God Bless You!!!! Lots of love, Jack and Barbara


by LJ Farmer

Turner, what can I ever say to equate your writings? I am sending my love and endurance to you and Tara and especially Brennan!


by Susan Todd

You’re amazing! Thank you for such wonderful descriptions of what is going on. I feel like I am “on the ride” with y’all.


by Robin Scott

I’m in tears and I’m not sure why but immediately upon reading your beautiful words, I burst into tears.


by Anne Norviel

So inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

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