Real Life

Jim Stynes: Legacy of a legend

Jim Stynes: Legacy of a legend

He touched the lives of so many, but most inspiring of all was the love he had for his family, which deepened as he fought the cancer that claimed him last week.

Jim Stynes was feted by politicians and superstars alike, but the great man only had eyes for his devoted wife as he quietly slipped away last week. Weak and resigned, there was no fight left. The Irish-born humanitarian looked around his bedroom at the tight-knit group of family and friends gathered, then focused on the love of his life, Sam, saying with his eyes what words could no longer manage.

Anyone who knew Jim will attest the 45-year-old adored his beautiful wife, the mother of his cherished children Matisse, 12, and Tiernan, 7. But it was during his long struggle with cancer that Jim realised just how deep that love was. “Getting cancer has led me to a better life,” the big fella with the even bigger heart confessed in the documentary on his battle with a melanoma which had spread to his brain, lung and legs by the time it was diagnosed. “I love my wife more than I used to. I love my kids more than I used to.”

Samantha also saw this difference, saying that facing his mortality had given Jim a heightened sense of what really matters in life. “Jim’s tooth-and-nail fight to live is continuing to enrich the quality of his life,” Sam said during his battle. “While I’ve told him he’s turned out to be a bit of a dud as a husband, I too am so genuinely appreciative of the personal growth, wisdom and happy times the journey brings with it. And just maybe that’s what life is really about.”

Cancer was an opponent even Jim couldn’t beat but, like his efforts on the football field and his tireless work with youth program REACH, he never threw in the towel. Jim spoke often about the “intense love” that surrounded him in the last year of his life and how his cancer had made him truly appreciate how blessed he was with family and friends, many of whom spoke out last week about the impact he’d had on their lives.

Read more and see the touching celebrity tributes to Jim Stynes in this week’s Woman’s Day on sale Monday March 26, 2012.

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