Tara Simkins is a lawyer turned life coach, facilitator, and childhood cancer philanthropist.
Tara left a successful twenty-year legal career to pursue a new calling ~ that of teacher, writer, life coach, and co-founder of the pressonfund.org.
Inspired by her middle son's groundbreaking leukemia journey, Tara shares a unique understanding of what it means to potentially lose something very meaningful in your life, and in the face of such loss, to commit to living an extraordinary life.
Tara lives in North Augusta, South Carolina with her husband, Turner, her three sons, Nat, Brennan and Christopher, and their dog, Lucky.
A Prayer for You
My prayer for you is that you experience a shift in your life today and every day.
A shift from fear to love.
An understanding that, as my husband, Turner, wrote in our Carepages, “The miracle is not necessarily in the unbelievable event, but in how we respond to what is placed before us everyday.”
May you see the hand of God extended to you everyday.
May you place your hand in His so that you may face what is placed before you with a Love so great that it defies all explanation.
May you know this Love in your life
May you know that with this Love embodying your life,
Possibilities for more love exist.
The Rest of the Story
There was this voice. This voice in my head. This voice in my heart quietly leading me...
It was 2 a.m. January 27, 2009. I was lying in a hospital bed holding my 7 year old, Brennan, our sparkly-eyed, middle son. My husband, Turner, was lying on the neighboring couch, flipping through the Children’s Oncology Group’s newest protocol for the treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (“AML”). The chemotherapy. The antibodies. The best that the pediatric cancer world had to offer our son was somewhere in that protocol lost amidst all of the side effects: infertility, skin cancer, kidney disease, vascular disorders, and oh yeah, AML, the exact cancer that it was designed to cure.
The road map of the next 6-8 months of our lives was outlined in the flow chart. Thirty days in the hospital for the first round of chemotherapy. Five days out. A second thirty days in the hospital. Another five days out. A third round of thirty days in the hospital followed by ten days out of the hospital. The arrows in the flow chart zigged and zagged to a second phase: allogenic bone marrow transplant. Thirty to sixty days in a new hospital. In another city. One hundred days out. And then, only then, did the arrows in the flow chart point to our final destination: HOME.
Turner was beyond disturbed and on the verge of hopelessness. A father desperate to make the best decision for his son. I was determined my child would not be a victim of cancer. How could we be expected to make an educated decision on behalf of a little boy who just turned seven only when we did not understand any of the information provided?
What we didn’t know at the time was that our arrival HOME would be short lived. We would enjoy all of the comforts of home for two weeks and then we would find ourselves facing an extremely early relapse.
What we didn’t know at the time was that we would have to map our own way. We would have to find new guideposts and travel across the southeast from the Savannah River to the Mississippi River in search of a CURE.
What we didn’t know at the time was that Brennan’s 7th birthday would be the first of three birthdays and every holiday in between, with the exception of the 4th of July, celebrated within the confines of a hospital room.
What we didn’t know at the time was the amazing journey that lay ahead. A journey of hopelessness and hope, of desperation and joy, of despair and unending gratitude.
The material posted in this site and my work coaching other families, caretakers and people who want to love their life in the midst of whatever circumstance they find themselves is one of the many blessings sprouting from this experience.
I hope you visit often and that you find comfort here. If this work strikes a particular chord with you, please contact me. I would love to hear from you and work with you.
Together, no matter what our circumstances, we will continue to fall deeper into love. After all, it is the only choice we have. To follow that voice within ourselves and choose to love our lives in this moment.
XOXO + Press on,
Brennan, Aquinas High School Graduation 2020, Fighting Irish Spirit Award
Tara's TedX Talk
Venture to Listen. There Has Never Been a More Important Time to Do That
Imagine daring to stop and listen to what is being asked of you during the most difficult times?
Drawing on her own experiences of navigating childhood cancer and facilitating indivdual and group discussions regarding our capacity to truly hear and understand one another amidst the current polarizing political climate, Tara shares how she shifted her own internal and external conversations by daring to listen to what the world was asking of her during her own challenging times and those of others.
Tune in as Tara invites you to experience a transformative shift, by venturing to listen in your own life. Tara shares a unique understanding of what it means to commit to living an extraordinary life in the face of losing something meaningful.
Darius Rucker "Possibilities"
Musical legend Darius Rucker was inspired by Tara's courageous fight to record this song...
Legendary country musician, Darius Rucker, recorded a song that my husband, Turner, and our friend Joe Stevenson co-wrote. The song was inspired by a lunch conversation I had with them when doctors at our local hospital had just told me that I had experimented on my child too much, I had pushed the envelope too much, and now he was going to spend the rest of his life suffering those consequences. My response, "but he is here, and alive, and has pushed the boundaries of medicine to show new possibilities that are available for cancer." From that, we decided more people need to be reminded of the possibilities they can create in their lives.
Discover how you can work with Tara →
Press On Fund
After discovering first-hand the disparities in pediatric cancer research funding and treatment options, Tara and her husband were inspired to co-found the Press On Fund.
It's mission is to identify feasible and ground breaking alternative therapies for childhood cancers and to invest in a manner that supports the science and infrastructure needed to cure childhood cancer within our lifetime.