Nathan Sexton and his family.
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Nathan Sexton and his son, who is the focus of the new book he wrote
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About the Book

Dear Jack: Life Lessons from a Brain Tumor Patient to His Two Year Old Son

Author: Nathan Sexton

Release date: October 12

Cost: E-book $7.99 | softcover $11.99 | hardcover $28.95

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Add published author to Nathan Sexton's list of accomplishments.

The 29-year-old Signal Mountain husband and father, who is battling stage four brain cancer, inspired the community with his perspective on life as he ran a blistering pace in March's half marathon here.

Now, as Sexton continues participating in a clinical trial, he and Westbrow Press have released, "Dear Jack: Life Lessons from a Brain Tumor Patient to His Two Year Old Son" in hardcover, paperback and e-book form.

That half marathon was only the beginning of a distance running career that began in tandem with a larger post-diagnosis priority shift that Sexton explains in the 110-page book dedicated to Jack, his two-year-old son.

"My original thought for the book was for Jack to physically have something to remember me by, should God decide to call me home early," Sexton wrote in an email question-and-answer session with the Times Free Press. "I discussed it with my wife, Elizabeth, and we thought if this book could help teach other people some of the lessons I have learned in my battle with brain cancer, then it would be worth getting it published."

The University of Tennessee graduate worked long hours as the head of business intelligence and, most recently, vice president of special operations for Bellhops, a successful start-up moving company headquartered in downtown Chattanooga's Warehouse Row.

In "Dear Jack" he explains how he struggled to delegate power at work and how his faith and family often took a backseat to an unchecked work ethic before his diagnosis.

The book is an autobiography of sorts that ties Sexton's strong Christian faith and lessons learned through extensive reading with details from his upbringing, personal life, business career, diagnosis and ongoing medical struggle.

Sexton was diagnosed with stage-four glioblastoma in June 2015 and told it carries an average prognosis of 15 months-24 months at best, because of his age and otherwise good health. He is participating in a clinical trial at the University of Alabama-Birmingham that brought some positive results.

His father, Buddy, shared a summary of the results from Nathan's most recent MRI scan on social media last week, stating that there is no new cancer growth and that part of the tumor has gotten slightly smaller.

"So, we are so incredibly thankful and happy over this news!" Buddy Sexton wrote in a Facebook post. "We are so grateful to our Lord for this report and to so many of you that continue to pray for Nathan!

Nathan said his nurse at UAB received a hard copy of "Dear Jack" before he did when it was released this month. She asked him to autograph the book.

"That was the first time I physically held it," Sexton said. "I think my wife was more excited than I was. I was kinda self conscious about it since it was my first book and all."

Sexton said he took about two months to write the book, adding that he did most of the writing when he felt the best: in the mornings, after going for a run.

He said he researched word counts for young teen non-fiction books and kept "Dear Jack" in that range.

Though Sexton said he is "definitely" a goal-oriented person, he said he couldn't care less how many copies of the book are sold.

"This book is for Jack and, as a byproduct, we decided to make it available for those people who are going through some type of hardship in their lives and show them — among other things — that our suffering is not in vain," he said. "We just don't have God's perspective to see how he is going to use our specific situation down the road."

Running goals

In his first-ever race over 13.1 miles, Sexton finished 11th out of 252 runners in the regionally renowned StumpJump 50K trail run on Signal Mountain earlier this month.

He plans to run December's Lookout 50, a 50-mile trail run on Lookout Mountain, after completing the 50-mile North Face Endurance Challenge in San Francisco earlier in the month.

"I really want to try and do two 50 milers in a month," Sexton said. "I love setting high goals for myself to see what I am capable of.

"If you don't push yourself outside of your comfort zone, you'll never know what you can accomplish."

Contact staff writer David Cobb at or 423-757-6249.