Fighting leukemia with a band of brothers

About Brennan Post

What Tara and Turner planned as a perfect snowy family trip to the North Carolina mountains in January 2009 turned out to be anything but when the Simkins rushed their fever stricken son, Brennan, back to Augusta, Georgia.  Brennan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (“AML”) on the eve of his 7th birthday.

After undergoing chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant (thanks to a donation from his older brother, then ten years old), Brennan was pronounced in remission, but soon relapsed. The hospital told Tara and Turner to pack up their bags; determined to Press On, they began a nationwide search for a hospital that would treat Brennan. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened their doors and created protocols for Brennan. He received three more bone marrow transplants, bringing the total to four in a record 18 months. His two brothers remained by his side every step of the way, from Augusta, to Atlanta, to Memphis. Thanks to his family, friends, and the dedicated team at St. Jude, Brennan has been cancer-free for six years.

For more details on Brennan’s Story, you can read Turner’s book Possibilitiesavailable online from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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Breathe, pray, smile

By Turner Simkins · June 12, 2011

My laptop’s power indicator is blinking red, so we are looking at a world-record short post. Suffice it to say that I was comforted by the glimmering mirrored pyramid this morning, reflecting the eastern sun into Brennan’s room on the transplant unit. He opened his beautiful blue eyes, stared at me for a second, smiled and extended his arms for a hug.

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Jumping the Gun

By Turner Simkins · June 12, 2011

“The man was on his knees, trying to retrieve each of his ugly words that were now scattered on the floor. But, of course, it was too late.” ~Dr. SunWolf

Well I guess I spoke too soon. Lords knows its not the first time. Given my predisposition for it, I pray its not the last.

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Dancing Softly

By Turner Simkins · June 9, 2011

“No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night.”
Elie Wiesel

By 10:00 am this morning it was over ninety degrees outside. We crept out of bed. It had been a long night. Walking out into the full June sun, it felt early. For some reason, the vomits kicked in around 3am without warning and with much vigor.

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Love in the Rubble

By Turner Simkins · May 25, 2011

“It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken. Perhaps they’re better left unsung.
I don’t know, don’t really care. Let there be songs to fill the air.” – Robert Hunter

“At this time I would like to ask you all if there are any milestones or special days of recognition that you may like to share with the congregation?” It is a question that Father Tim Fitzpatrick poses to the Sunday evening worshipers every week before the final prayer and recessional hymn at St. Patricks church in downtown Memphis.

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By Turner Simkins · May 16, 2011

“The body of Christ is the body of God, the body of ultimate reality, the ground of all existence. We do not have to look anywhere else for it. It resides deep in our own being.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Rounding the bout” at Mud Island a few minutes ago, I could see very clearly that the water-marks on all of the trees was at least a foot higher than the current water level. Sometime between be picking the boys up from school yesterday and now, the devastating flood waters have begun to recede. … read more

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Don’t Fall Now

By Turner Simkins · May 13, 2011

“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”
C. S. Lewis

The last thing you want to go with one last hurdle in front of you is stumble and fall. A lot of pieces had to come together this week for Brennan’s surgery to get scheduled for tomorrow.

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Hope of a Crest

By Turner Simkins · May 12, 2011

posted on CarePages May 11, 2011 “Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don’t worry…I’m here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you.” -Charlie Brown to Snoopy I’m not much of a…

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Storm Stations

By Turner Simkins · May 8, 2011

posted on CarePages May 7, 2011 “We shall overcome We shall overcome We shall overcome some day Oh, deep in my heart I do believe We shall overcome some day” Charles Tindlay It was the week after Easter, tornadoes, evacuations and rising waters. A lot has happened, and is happening all around us. As this…

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Monday Prayer

By Turner Simkins · May 2, 2011

“It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal.” – Helen Keller

This is not so much of an update as a request. Tara and I are waiting with Brennan in “B” Clinic this morning for his first bone marrow biopsy since he was declared to have obtained remission around two months ago. read more

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I Can Do This

By Tara Simkins · April 29, 2011

“‘I can do this.’ This is a thought that can change an entire life. Don’t underestimate the power of those four little words.” Meadow Devor

“Why CAN’T I go home for The Masters, Mommie?” Brennan inquired. “I mean, if I can’t go home, why did I get out of the hospital?”

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