The last few months of my life have gotten me thinking about moments. Those moments which take your breath away. It seems just for that moment you can almost direct a movie scene in your head. These moments can be products of an infinite number of emotions. The only thing that matters is impact. Every moment of every single day affects the outcome of your life, but only certain moments can truly provide impact. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much impact until long after it’s over. The truth is, most of the time, we let those moments go by without even a second thought. We spend all our time waiting for the movie in our head to play out and miss the important stuff. Life is going to be messy. Situations, feelings, and relationships are going to break, bend, hurt, and crush you, but that’s where the beauty begins. Even during those moments in which we lose all faith, we can find something beautiful and impactful. The choice comes from our ability to stop fighting for an imaginary world, and start enjoying the one we are blessed with each and every day. We have to step outside the realm of stubbornness that we each can easily fall into, and push out all the grudges of our past. Time isn’t a guaranteed part of our lives and once we are gone, all that’s left are those moments of impact and what we made of them. What are we leaving behind as we push forward into the future? Imagine just for a moment that you no longer can plan for the rest of your life. You can’t think about college, marriage, careers, children, retirement, or anything else past tomorrow. What would you chose to spend your last day doing? With whom would you choose to spend it? Why? Take the honest answer that first came to your mind and evaluate that. Is that truly what you should be spending your last day doing? Is the person you want to be with someone who truly cares about you? How will your last day impact others when you’re gone? It’s not an easy situation to think about, is it? Now, imagine thinking that way for years of your life. Think about how much more of an impact you would make. Think about how much more you would appreciate the people who really care about you. We have allowed ourselves to make it easy to always search for something to fill our desires and help us feel more powerful and lose sight of the importance that each day holds. Well, let me tell you, nothing is more powerful than watching the most selfless person you know struggle through the most difficult of battles.
Cancer resembles the worst of bullies. It makes you weak and pushes you down only to let you stand back up again before shoving you harder. It shows no mercy and leaves nothing spared. Sometimes it can vanish and then reappear again even stronger than before. This bully has preyed on numerous people for years, taking everything it can. Although, there is one thing that even cancer cannot begin to touch or lessen, and that is the spirit. No matter how weak cancer can make the body, it doesn’t stand a chance against the faith, hope, and love that resides within the spirit. Sure, it would be more than easy to allow yourself to lose these when all seems lost, but where does that get you? It doesn’t bring about any new news. It doesn’t turn back the hands of time. Life doesn’t give extra chances just because you’re having a difficult time. Our only prayer of entering something negative and coming out with something positive, lies within our ability to take those stupid lemons and make some really good lemonade.
I have had the immense privilege of knowing a true person of impact. Not only did this person provide multiple moments of impact in my life, but he also became someone who will have forever changed my life. Sam Featherstone has fought the bully of cancer for years now and experienced many moments where the majority of humanity would have given up. Sam did not give up. He never threw in the towel when things seemed impossible, nor did he spend a moment of his time complaining or asking others to feel sorry for him. His efforts to be the best he could be continued just as if he wasn’t battling cancer. The achievements that Sam made throughout his years are astounding, but the most incredible aspect lies within his ability to never give up, and never lose sight of what is important. Sam Featherstone has become a household name because of the good he does for others. His work to help other children with cancer is nothing short of selfless. He has become a role model for every age group imaginable. Young and old alike are touched and amazed at how gracious this young man is, even against the most crushing of circumstances. Sam Featherstone is no longer just the name of a person anymore; it is a wave of reality and compassion that this world so desperately needed. No one can look at their lives the same after hearing his story. Personal gain isn’t ever included in Sam’s efforts. He doesn’t work to receive anything in return. Sam has changed not only my life, or my classmates’ lives, or lives in the Evansville community, but the lives of all the people who those lives come in contact with. Each of us that know Sam and follow his story has taken a piece of his impact with us as we go out into the world. Our lives will never be the same. I can personally say that my outlook on the struggles that I face has significantly changed, as well as my appreciation for waking up each day healthy and surrounded by people who I care about. Never before has someone of such a young age shown such maturity and grace.
Sam Featherstone provided many moments of impact for me and I’m sure he will continue to do so through his incredible efforts. Astonishingly though, those moments aren’t the main thing Sam has given me. Sam has given me the gift of faith, without even knowing it. Each time I feel like my world is crashing down and I can’t pick myself back up, all I have to do is think of Sam. He has shown me the path of keeping hope alive and following your dreams into reality, no matter what obstacles life throws at you. Sam works for things bigger than himself and realizes the importance of finding what it is that gives your life that lasting impact. I truly feel blessed to say that my life has changed because of this amazing young man. His impact will never fade in my life, or in the infinite number of lives that he has touched and will continue to touch. Where there is hope, there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles happen. Sam Featherstone is the miracle in our lives.
I will forever be SAMSTRONG.