Zach Sobiach: A True Inspiration
Zach Sobiech, you were just 18 when you lost your battle with cancer, but millions are living their lives to the fullest, thanks to your songs and life philosophy.
Zach, cancer may have robbed you of your life, but it never crushed your incredible smile.
You said you wanted to be remembered as a kid who went down fighting, and didn't really lose.
And that's exactly what you did. You didn't let osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer that strikes teenagers, get in the way of you squeezing happiness out of every day.
You were determined to express yourself in your last months through music, writing and recording, the song "Clouds," in order to say goodbye to your family, your friends, your girlfriend and to inspire others to not fear death.
"Clouds," which was posted on YouTube, has been watched over 3,500,000 times. And in that beautiful tune you sung about your hope of going "up, up, up, I'll fly a little higher. We'll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer!"
Zach, You Always Stayed Positive
But you weren't glorifying death or even embracing it. You honestly expressed how sad you were to not have more time on Earth: "It won't be long now, it won't be long now, if only I had a little bit more time. If only I had a little bit more time with you."
Zach -- you never gave up on living during the four years after your diagnosis. You were hopeful almost to the end.
And in fact, when you first learned you had osteosarcoma when you were 14, you had true reason to hope. Sixty to 80 percent of patients who are stricken, have a five-year-survival rate of 60 to 80 percent.
Unfortunately, you weren't one of those survivors. Your chemo treatments didn't stop the bone cancer from spreading into your stomach and lungs.
Zach, You Lived Life To The Fullest
Nevertheless, you decided that you wanted to focus on the quality of your life and not stay in the hospital, having surgeries that might have bought you more time, but would have left you confined to a bed, unable to move.
"You can either sit in your basement and wait, or get out of there and do crazy stuff," you said in the 22-minute documentary, My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech, made about your inspirational life.
The "crazy stuff" you decided to do, wasn't exactly "crazy." Your family bought you the car that you were so excited to drive, you wrote and recorded songs expressing your feelings, and you went on a romantic picnic date in the middle of the winter in an indoor stadium with your girlfriend, Amy.
"My closure is to get my feelings into these songs so they (my family, friends) can have something to remember me by or lean on when I'm gone," you said.
You Focused Your Last Months On Love
Really, all you focused on was expressing your love for the people you cared about. You were far more concerned with preparing them for the loss they would feel with your death, than with going through some personal bucket list.
You told your parents they were "the best parents I could ever ask for." You told your brother, Sam that he was "the best big brother" and said "I love you so much."
You said your sister Grace was your "best friend," and you urged her to kick butt on the basketball court and "keep strong." You thanked little sister, Allie for keeping you strong, and told girlfriend, Amy that she really helped you through the hard times.
You cared about making "others happy."
"It's awesome that you can live in this world and help people and make someone else smile," you said. And that's exactly what you did.
You greeted every one of your last days with a smile that lit up your face and this world.
And you allowed yourself to dream. You revealed that you and Amy would talk about getting married and having kids. "I'll love her to death," you chuckled because you would, "literally."
You Were Confident And Happy Through It All
It's not that you weren't afraid of death as it came closer, day by day.
In fact, the documentary of your life was posted on YouTube on May 3, 2013, less than three weeks before you died, and you were honest about your fears.
"Death is scary 'cause you don't know what's next or if there is a next -- it's kind of like sitting in the dark," you explained. "You can either freak out in the dark or go to sleep, relax, and be happy and content."
Zach, you passed away just 17 days after your 18th birthday. And you left the world the way you wanted to -- "at home and at peace with those he loved most. Zach's life ended just as he lived it, embraced by the love of his family, friends, grace and music," the Children's Cancer Research Fund announced on its website.
As part of your legacy, you wanted to raise money for research on cures for osteosarcoma so you could help save the lives of other young people like yourself.
Zach, it was your courage -- living life with optimism, dignity, and love -- that will inspire millions and millions of others to enrich their own lives, whether they are fighting a battle to survive or to just be a better person.
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