In April, Brittany Maynard was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. The tumor was malignant and the doctors gave her 10 years to live. Shortly after that, the doctors re-evaluated the tumor and shortened that life expectancy to 6 months.Lauren Hill dreamed of playing college basketball and when this season tipped off, she did, getting to start in the first game of the year. However, it was under the most tragic of circumstances because Lauren was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer earlier in the year and given months to live. She started the first game, the opponent allowed her to score the first points of the game, and then she subbed out. She finished the game with the last bucket as well, a shining moment for a kid who's facing the scary reality of the end.
In 2007, Stuart Scott was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He beat it. In 2011, it came back. He beat it again. In 2013, it came back a third time-stronger, more aggressive. This time, the fight proved too daunting, as Stuart Scott passed away January 4th, 2015. This larger than life ESPN personality, who exuded enthusiasm, now rests at peace. The microphone turned off, the teleprompter dark, the studio silent. He left behind two daughters, but he also left behind a legacy. He said in his final speech last summer at the ESPY's: "When you die, it does not mean that you lost to cancer. You beat cancer by how you lived, why you lived, and in the manner in which you lived."
Sadness and tragedy seem to surround us. Whether it's cancer, disease, accidents, or something else, life has never seemed so fragile to me. Brittany Maynard, Lauren Hill and especially Stuart Scott have been weighing on my mind a lot lately. Their story is one of sadness, but also one that clearly reminds us that life is not guaranteed. Life is not a right. It is a privilege. They were living their lives. Days, weeks, months were passing by and they were excited about their life, excited about their future. Brittany Maynard was excited to start a family with her husband. Lauren Hill was excited about college and the amazing possibilities and excitement her future held. Stuart Scott was undoubtedly excited to see his daughters grow and to continuing having a blast for ESPN. Then they went to the doctor and were given the diagnosis. That fast. Snap of a finger. Blink of an eye. Their world changed. Their life had fast forwarded to the end and they were left dazed, scared. Suddenly things seem not so important, not so huge, not so necessary. Tomorrow we could walk into a doctor's office and be given a death sentence. We could slam into a back of a van. We could lose someone dear to us. I think it's a perspective change that we sometimes badly need. I know for me, my view on life has changed drastically in the past couple years through various tragic events. I try not to sweat things that are so small and insignificant in the grand scheme of life. I know our time is limited on this earth and I'm not going to spend it worrying about every little minor thing or getting wrapped up in minute details. There are those who spend so much time getting wrapped up in things that just don't matter, that I just wanted to scream, "Relax! It's okay." For me, it is certainly not a "don't care" attitude, it's just that I only care about things that are worthy of it. I'm not going to get worked up or angry about missing homework, I'm not going to get stressed out about hoops we have to jump through, I'm not going to worry. When it comes to school, it's simple: I'm going to work hard, care about about my students, have fun and try to give them an experience worth remembering.
We all have a clock with an end time. But we also all have an opportunity live.