By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Jim Stynes, My Journey
With Warwick Green (Michael Joseph, $39.99, hardcover, 341 pages)
Steadfast in its candour, this poignant memoir of Jim Stynes—Irishman, footballer and businessman—touches the soul.
He died on 20 March, 2012, a month short of his 46th birthday, whose brave face against all odds and a public battle with cancer touched the lives of those who knew him.
Everyone was shocked when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, certain that he would “overcome the disease, just like he had met every other challenge in his remarkable life”.
This is a story about keeping hope alive, of infinite bravery, of not giving in and taking on a challenge to try and beat his disease. An optimistic approach and the will to succeed gave him two extra years on his prognosis.
Naturally, there were some “mind-numbing” moments after the initial diagnosis and countless operations on a melanoma.
Even though Stynes had experienced a life-changing event, the thought of “dying was incomprehensible, but a tiny pragmatic part of me” had realised the possibility and it “scared” him beyond belief.
Guess “denial can be a powerful defence mechanism”.
A diligently-kept diary by Jim Styles has resulted in this chronicle by Warwick Green who has paid a genuine tribute: by finding a voice for his friend, he lets Jim tell his story in a credible way.
Brownlow medallist, co-founder of a youth-support foundation called Reach, and former president of the Melbourne Football Club, Stynes set the “best possible example of getting the most out of every experience life throws your way”.
The bittersweet memories were tied up with faith: “If you don’t have cancer, cherish life. If you do, cherish it even more.’
We should live simply by this creed.
Edition 406, 22 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.