John Challis is the Pennsylvania kid who is dying from cancer, and through sports has found a courage to live that has impacted people nationwide. I wrote about him here and link to some videos on him. Watch this ESPN video and see if you aren't touched by John's attitude toward life. Imagine impacted your younger sister like he has. Something special.
Listening to Scott Van Pelt's ESPN radio show this afternoon, I heard the story of John Challis. It is a touching story of a Pennsylvania high school kid dying from cancer who was put in to bat during his high school team's game. He got a hit.
Nothing unusual about cancer and kids, we've all known families where cancer has struck the young. The difference here is John's attitude.
Mike White of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette wrote the story about John and spoke with Scott on the radio this afternoon.
Watch these three videos produced by the paper. It's worth the time.
Listen when Johnny says,
"I used to be afraid, but I'm not afraid of dying now, if that's what you want to know. ... Because life ain't about how many breaths you take. It's what you do with those breaths."
A year doesn't pass without someone who has touched my life dying. Most recently, it was Galba Bright. A few months ago, childhood friend Phil Chapman and earlier, friend and mentor Dick Wallace. What I've learned from the loss of these friends is that they are only lost if they had nothing to leave. But each left a legacy of contribution to people, their families, their professions and their communities.
For those of us who remain, we need to hear Johnny's words as an admonition to make the most of what have in the situations we are in, and then to leave a legacy that will remain in the lives of people. With each of these people there is one thing that I will treasure and try to emulate in remembrance of them. In so doing, they live on in me and by extension in those whose lives I hope to touch.
It is not enough to be emotionally touched by Johnny's story. I cried when I heard Scott and Mike White the Pittsburgh reporter talk about Johnny this afternoon. Take John Challis' example as a challenge to be a better person tomorrow. That is what Johnny wants. He wants his story to help each of us be better people. What a legacy for a skinny little 18 year old from the hills of western Pennsylvania to leave.
Thanks Johnny. You the man. In every respect.