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Sharing an ability to make a room laugh — and sharing the impacts of dire pancreatic cancer prognosis — father and daughter Bryan and Jennifer Irwin demonstrate the power of family and positivity in the face of adversity on this special Family Day episode of Chatter That Matters.

It’s been said if you walk into a room and Bryan Irwin is there, you’ll likely end up doing the limbo or playing charades. His sense of fun, positivity and humour helped him sell toys throughout his career with his family’s business — Irwin Toys — and is helping him now as he manages through a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

In this episode of Chatter That Matters, Bryan shares the story of Irwin Toys and how it grew from its early days as Irwin Specialties — the company his parents founded in 1926 — to becoming Canada’s largest developer, manufacturer, marketer and distributor of toys. He is joined by his daughter Jennifer, a successful LA actress with the same natural ability to make a room laugh, Jennifer shares a close bond with her father that defies distance and borders.

In his conversation with Tony Chapman, Bryan recalls some of the toy company’s biggest hits (like Pound Puppies, Star Wars action figures and the Slinky) and their biggest flops (including a doll named after Jennifer that was possibly “the worst-selling doll in Canadian history”). He talks about the stress of the toy business and shares how his father suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the pressure.

With a finite amount of time ahead of him, Bryan describes how he’s approaching every day and how his family is standing with him. In this Family Day episode, Bryan and Jennifer Irwin demonstrate how the strength of family can carry you in both business and adversity.

Tony Chapman created the Chatter That Matters podcast to counter the storm of negativity and impossibility with true stories of ordinary people who do extraordinary things. He chats with Olympians, Advocates, Celebrities, Leaders, and people who battled what seemed like insurmountable odds.

In doing, listeners hear life lessons that inspire all of us to do more and to be more, to help us get to where we need, want and deserve to go. RBC is the presenting sponsor.

To listen to this show, go to, download Chatter That Matters at I Heart Radio or tune in Fridays at noon to these radio stations:

  • Newstalk 1010, Toronto
  • CFRA 580 Ottawa
  • CJAD 800 Montreal
  • CJBK 1290 London
  • Newstalk 610 St. Catharine’s
  • CKLW 800 Windsor
  • CKFR 1150 Kelowna
  • CFAX 1070 AM Victoria
  • Or Fridays at 8 p.m. on BNN Bloomberg CFTE 1410 Vancouver

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