by Chris Brewer
Meet Jim Owens: a successful businessman helping run his family-owned heating and air-conditioning company and accomplished endurance athlete who enjoyed swimming, cross-country skiing, running and triathlon. But in 1998, Jim?s world changed when he heard the words, ?You have cancer.?
At the time of his diagnosis with a rare brain tumor, Jim was newly engaged to Barb. Soon after they were married, Jim and Barb had their son Max. It was little Max?s innocent questions about Jim?s cancer that got him thinking not only about how he would tell Max, but how any parents tell their children about such a situation? And so Jim decided to offer answers in his children?s book, The Survivorship Net.
The story, vividly illustrated by renowned artist Bill Cass, takes place at the circus. Jim incorporated his love of cycling into the story. He based many of the characters on the sport?s most famous riders including, Eddy Merckx as King Eddie, Mario Cipollini as Mario the Marvelous, and of course, Lance Armstrong as Lancelot Legstrong.
The ringmaster is none other than Jim himself, and the story revolves around how the successful circus came into disarray following a diagnosis of cancer. While all the performers rally around Jim with support, it?s the actions of the young boy, Max, who shows how the community can come together and repair the Survivorship Net, enabling the daring acrobats to once again be able to perform safely, just like friends and family rally around a loved one battling cancer.
?By sharing my story, I am helping others become survivors just like me,? Jim wrote. ?I tell everyone that cancer may slow you down for a while, but it does not have to run your life. Cancer limits you only if you let it.?
The book?s forward is written by Armstrong, who first met Jim in 2002 at the Ride for the Roses charity bike ride. The professional cyclist and father of four writes, The Survivorship Net is, ??a book written by a dad who rides bikes, about how to tell his son he has cancer. I didn?t write this book, but I?m glad my friend Jim did.? The book also receives praise from such luminaries as Dr. LaSalle Leffall, Vice President Walter Mondale and cycling legend Davis Phinney who all come to the same conclusion: Jim Owens has written a book of hope.
Sadly, Jim Owens passed away January 4, 2009 after a ten-year battle with brain cancer. But his legacy lives on thru his family and friends, and now The Survivorship Net.
The book sells for $14.95 and can be purchased by going to www.cancer.org/bookstore or by calling 1-800-227-2345.