John Challis died today at the physical age of 18 but the emotional age of 60.
Wise decades before the wisdom should have kicked in and mature years before the maturity should have shown up, he was truly an inspiring teenager who faced death, admitted it scared him, but was more worried about how it would affect his family when he was gone.
He was a selfless kid who instead of dwelling heavily on what he could not change, looked to using his reaction to the inevitable, to change those around him. And it did.
“I really can’t explain how his story took off, but the kid was just unbelievable,” Mr. Wetzel said. “His attitude and messages I think changed how some people looked at their lives. He changed how I went about life.
“I feel like a piece of my heart is gone now. The thing I’ll miss most is his smile. He had a smile that could light up a room.”
You know, I’ve said it for three years what it does to me when kids are sick. I can’t express to you what it does to me when kids die. I’ve hugged a friend the day her young child died. Stood by her while she saw him buried. I’ve seen first hand what it does to parents. They die a little too. Maybe a lot. You can’t put your child in the ground and not put a part of yourself in there with him.
So it’s easy to feel angry. To question. To throw your hands up and say, “There’s just no point and I’m mad about it.”
John however saw a point.
To know I’m going downhill a little bit, it doesn’t bother me because I’ve helped so many people. Since I’ve helped so many people, this is easier to handle.
That’s my message just for people to always do their best, no matter what they’re doing or how stupid it might seem. And no matter what, there will always be a reward, no matter how small it is.
I’ll never forget John Challis, who I hope got to where he wanted to be and I hope the reward was huge.
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