One of John Challis' final wishes was to get to bat in a high school baseball game. Challis, an 18-year-old senior at Freedom High School in Pennsylvania, is dying of cancer. Doctors say he might have as little as two months to live. But on April 14 he got his wish; getting an at-bat in a league game. And despite barely being able to run due to the effects of the disease, Challis got a single, and made it to first. Opposing players all take off their gloves and give him an ovation. And if that little story lifted your spirits in any way; made you a little less cynical or cranky or worn, well, he'll take it.
Yeah, Challis' story is one of courage, sadness, inspiration, hope, all of that. But to fully wrap your mind around it, you're just going to have to read it for yourself. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is following his story, and ran this amazing piece by Mike White on Sunday. If you do nothing else today, please take a look. This is one amazing kid.
All of Aliquippa's baseball players wear John's jersey number "11" on their hats. At the walk-a-thon, Aliquippa star athlete Jonathan Baldwin, a Pitt football recruit, presented him with a ball signed by Pitt players. After the walk, John addressed the crowd. "He spoke from his heart," Mr. Wetzel, the coach, said. "He said, 'I've got two options. I know I'm going to die, so I can either sit at home and feel sorry, or I could spread my message to everybody to live life to the fullest and help those in need.' After hearing that, I don't know if there were many people not crying."
His story touched me, and maybe it will do the same for you. But I'm not going to bore you further with my take on this; better that you hear it from him.
"I used to be afraid, but I'm not afraid of dying now, if that's what you want to know," he said. "Because life ain't about how many breaths you take. It's what you do with those breaths."
Teen Is Running Out Of Innings, But The Game Isn't Over [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Cancer-Stricken Baseball Player Gets One Last Hit [SportsbyBrooks]