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'Give Up' isn't in Tom Shindruk's vocabulary

At 86, this super-positive four-time cancer survivor is thriving and boosting others' spirits while he's at it.

If anyone had an excuse to throw in the towel, it might be Tom Shindruk. The 86-year-old is now a four-time cancer survivor who has also lived through the death of an adult son, but it's all only fuelled the Calgary father and grandfather to power through, and with a positive attitude at that.

Last year, Shindruk wrote about his experiences and life philosophies in the book 'Never Give Up', a testament to positive living that has sold 400 copies and brightened lives like that of Junaid Malik. A friend for over 20 years, Malik met Shindruk when he worked at the Canadian Cancer Society and Shindruk was a volunteer there who spoke about his cancer journey. 

"Tom became my mentor because of his positivity and charismatic personality; he's a glass half-full person. I was new to Canada then, and Tom's message of building people up, not bringing them down--that affected me. He became my mentor," said Malik. "We still talk about once a week, and I've given over 40 copies of his book to people who need that positivity in their lives too."

Longtime friend Joyce Frandle, who met Shindruk in 1987 when they both worked in the food industry, said "When I had a kidney removed due to my own cancer scare, Tom was the first person I reached out to. Tom speaks from his heart. I'm not surprised he wrote a book either, because Tom is always involved in a million things. He doesn't stand still."

With his new book, about 75 per cent completed and with a working title of "Every Day is a Miracle if you Never Give Up", Shindruk offers a thought per day--366 positive messages of hope and inspiration that Shindruk says is a tribute to the people he loves and who love him. 

"I've also collected the birthdays of some 400 people, so I'll mention those in the book too," he said. "God keeps taking care of me, through each cancer surgery and recovery. (Those include intestinal, prostate and kidney cancers) Every time, the doctors have gotten it all, so I've been lucky and I'm good to go. I've slowed down and wobble a bit, but I still do ten miles on the stationary bike every morning."

In fact, Shindruk hasn't slowed down that much. The Manitoba native still works three paying jobs, teaching safe driving for the oil and gas industry, for Families Matter Society's 'Be a Great Dad Program' and security for a high-rise in Calgary. He also volunteers and has kept things rolling on his book and work obligations through regular Zoom meetings all pandemic long.

"I'm so glad the churches have opened up again, and I've missed the hugs and smiles and going for coffee," said Shindruk, who sends friends positive messages by phone or email seven days a week. He's labeled those messages Marvelous Monday, Terrific Tuesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Tremendous Thursday, Fantastic Friday, Super Saturday and Sensational Sunday. "Others have retired or quit jobs, but I'm not going to stop. Maintaining a happy, positive attitude means everything to me."

"Mostly, I feel proud of my life and my 65-year marriage to Sonja. We've brought up good kids," he said. "I've never been rich in money, but am rich in other ways. I believe while we're here we should do something for someone else--that's the goodness of life."

Watch for Shindruk's new book in Spring 2022. You can order 'Never Give Up' by contacting tomshindruk@shaw.ca