Author(s): Jim Stynes
Unflinching in its honesty, My Journey is the extraordinary memoir of Jim Stynes: Irishman, footballer, Brownlow Medallist, Reach co-founder and former president of Melbourne Football Club whose very public battle with cancer touched the lives of everyone who knew him. When Jim was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 43, he was given nine months to live. The diagnosis caught him by surprise - and he didn't have time for illness. He was a busy father, husband, brother, mentor and businessman. Jim Stynes never took the easy road, on or off the field. He loved a challenge. He pushed himself, and worked hard to help others realise their potential. The same could be said about his cancer journey. Knowing his odds weren't good, Jim gave his all to trying to beat the disease. He embraced life, and made his journey public. His ability to use mind over matter, to never give in, to overcome pain, to believe in himself and his will to succeed gave him two extra years on the prognosis. He worked hard to keep hope alive for himself and his family, and for other cancer sufferers too, defying expectations time and time again. Jim died on 27 March 2012, a month shy of his forty-sixth birthday. A state funeral was held at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne, with thousands of mourners watching from Federation Square. A memorial service was also held at his local Ballyroan parish church in Dublin. Jim kept diary notes throughout his battle with cancer, and spent many months talking about his life with his long-time friend, journalist Warwick Green. My Journey celebrates the legacy of Jim Stynes, offering an intimate portrait of a man learning to face his fears and get the most out of every single day.
Jim Stynes grew up in Dublin playing Gaelic football, and was recruited by Melbourne at the end of 1984 as part of the 'Irish Experiment''. He would go on to win the game's highest individual award, the Brownlow Medal, in 1991, as well as four Melbourne best-and-fairest awards. His 264-game career included a record streak of 244 consecutive matches. Jim was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, and was twice named Victorian of the Year for his work with Reach, a foundation he established to help young people fulfil their potential. He took over the presidency of the Melbourne Football Club in 2008. Jim died in March 2012 after a very public journey with cancer that lasted almost three years. Warwick Green became a mate of Jim Stynes when they were studying at teachers' college together in 1985. Warwick played a handful of games for St Kilda. Warwick is a sports journalist with the Herald Sun, and has been sports editor of the Sunday Age, The Age and the Sunday Herald Sun. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and three children.