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Keeping Zaidie Phil alive through stories and giving

When Robyn Feldberg listens to the radio and asks her children who liked the song that just came on, the answer comes before she finished the sentence – Zaidie (grandfather) Phil.

Phil Feldberg died of prostate cancer in 2005 but remains central to Robyn’s life. He was diagnosed at age 54. His PSA level had been rising and he visited a specialist. By the time he went back, it was too late: the cancer had advanced and spread.

“After he died, many people came forward and told us he had helped them that we didn’t even know about. He came to this country as an immigrant family from Poland with about 10 cents in his pocket. He was self-made and all about giving back with his time and his money.”

Joie de vivre

Robyn cherishes her dad’s love for life, especially the regular family parties and celebrations. He balanced living for today while saving for tomorrow.

Robyn now tries to follow that example with her husband and four children aged eight to 15. She is constantly asking herself, “What would my dad do?”

Getting to know Zaidie Phil

“My kids and I talk about my dad practically every day. He’ll come up in one way or another. When the kids were younger, they always asked to hear stories about him as their bedtime story, so we would share a lot of those,” Robyn recalls fondly. “If you spoke to my kids today, you’d think he was here. That’s how well they know him.”

Robyn and her family

Honouring dad and Zaidie by fundraising

Robyn’s kids also know a lot about the disease that took their grandfather. Their school asks students to choose a charity to present to their classmates. They chose Prostate Cancer Canada.

Their whole extended family has been active raising awareness and funds, ever since he passed away. Everyone wants to make sure no other family has to lose their dad, husband or brother.

“Awareness is a huge piece that was not around at the time,” says Robyn. “Before my dad had prostate cancer, I had never heard that word. Now my kids know about prostate cancer, but because of us. It’s not a common word. Families don’t generally talk about prostate cancer until they have to.”

Deciding they wanted to remember and honour their dad, on Father’s day the year after Phil died, Robyn and her mom asked the family to take part in the Do it For Dads Walk/Run.

“We thought, ‘What a great way to raise money and, keep us busy to focus on something else on what was a really hard day,” says Robyn. “It was a way of doing something in memory of my dad, because he did so much for others. It was very therapeutic and rewarding.”

Robyn and her team at the Do it For Dads Walk/Run



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Posted: 2018-09-13 4:17:31 PM
Filed under: dads, do, family, for, it, robyn, survivor


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