Nineteen: 19 Insights Learned from a 19-year-old with Cancer is a book of profound and inspiring reflections based on a true story of Haydn Robarts. It is a story about love and hope that resulted from one family’s encounter with heartache and loss as they reeled from the untimely death of their otherwise healthy 19-year-old son, Hadyn. Written from the perspective of the father, it is a story that presents profound and inspiring reflections as he and the family navigate unprecedented circumstances with grace and gratitude.
In July 2019, Haydn started to experience headaches, blurred vision, and nausea. He was sent for a precautionary MRI, which revealed a 4cm-diameter tumor at the base of his brain. This tremendous shock kickstarted a remarkable journey into unchartered territory with no other options but to face forward and move one step at a time. It took a Himalayan effort, and Haydn gave the climb everything he had with the hope that conquering this disease would be akin to reaching a hard-earned summit.
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After two brain surgeries, multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, a clinical trial, and some periods of progress, Haydn passed away a week before his 20th birthday. While the ordeal was awful, Nineteen describes the journey as far from awful, rather as uplifting, nourishing, rewarding and even joyous. The book concludes that Haydn did indeed reach the summit, just not in the way anyone imagined. Nineteen takes readers along Haydn’s path, sharing intimate family moments alongside universal lessons that crystallized for the author as he watched his teenage son, in awe and wonder, face his physical demise with grace, love, and gratitude.
Author and Haydn’s father, Adam Robarts, was born in London and raised in Uganda and Kenya. He returned to the UK to study architecture at Cambridge University. Adam and his wife, Karyn, went on to establish an award-winning design firm in China. They have four children who were all born and raised in Beijing. In December 2018, during a family vacation in Canada, Adam was asked what he would choose to be if not an architect. He replied, without hesitation, “A hospice nurse.” Five years earlier, he had a profound experience accompanying his father through the final weeks of life before he died of cancer in Uganda.
Adam could not have imagined then that nine months later he would begin to accompany his 19-year-old son, Haydn, through a battle with a rare brain cancer. Haydn graduated from this physical world in May 2020, one week before his 20th birthday. Nineteen is Adam’s first book and shares the beautiful and poignant lessons learned on the family’s journey with Haydn. The book will be released on May 17, during National Cancer Research month.
“Live a life filled with joy and try to consciously consider how to bring joy to the lives of those around you as well.” – Haydn Robarts