What impact will your life have on the world? Who will remember your story when you're gone? And if you know you'll be gone someday, what message are you leaving now?
Faced with the devastating truth about his terminal disease, 18-year-old Ben Breedlove, stricken with a heart ailment called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, decided to tell his story while he could.
The same condition that often cuts down young athletes without warning is one that almost ended Breedlove's life three separate times during his childhood. After surviving his third heart attack earlier this month, he posted these two videos on YouTube. The boy from Austin, Texas, who loved to wakeboard and be out on the water, bared his soul with a smile.
A fourth heart attack proved too much; Breedlove died on Dec. 25, just a week after he made these videos. But he shared a story that somehow turned tragedy to inspiration. And it continues to be felt around the world.
Breedlove's story has spread quickly. From the Huffington Post to the Daily Mail, there is no shortage of people captivated by his message. That includes Kid Cudi, the rapper that Breedlove saw in his visions. On his blog the day after Breedlove's death, Cudi wrote this:
At the end of his last video, Breedlove asks, "Do you believe in angels and God?" Maybe you do. Maybe you don't. But you don't have to believe in either to understand the meaning of what Breedlove did. It's a message that will inspire young and old, healthy and sick. And it's a message that will bring something Breedlove somehow found in the scariest moments of his too-short life: comfort.
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