Standing in front of strangers is intimidating. Standing in front of strangers describing the worst thing that has ever happened to you is even more intimidating. My name is Luke Pamer. I'm an 18-year-old senior student at a small school of about 500 kids in Northeastern Indiana called Westview. Six and a half years ago, my cousin Greg Chupp was killed in a car accident. He and three other friends decided to ramp a hill. Greg was in the front passenger seat. When the car hit the hill, they were going at a speed of an excess of 120 miles per hour. The car went airborne and the driver, Greg's best friend, lost control as soon as the wheels touched the asphalt. The car went off the road and struck a tree. Greg was gone on impact. Sixteen short years gone in an instant. Greg was like my big brother, my role model, my super hero. I was only 11 years-old at the time, but I always knew I could do more to keep his memory alive. About two years ago, I found my niche.
I would be a completely different person if I wouldn't have found The Buried Life. My friend Jarret shared their story with me and made me sit down and watch an episode of their television show that aired on MTV at the time. Since he talked them up so much, I wasn't sure if their mission was going to live up to my expectations. However, The Buried Life more than lived up to my expectations. Instead, they have changed my expectations; expectations for people, for future goals, for chasing my dreams.
If you're wondering who The Buried Life are, they are four best friends from Canada who made a list of 100 things they wanted to do before they died. However, for every one thing they accomplish, they help a random stranger do something they want to do before they die. It's extremely powerful and I believe if enough people lived with their mindset, this world would be a much more positive place.
Before being introduced to The Buried Life, I was a 15-year-old kid who wanted to grow up to be a sportswriter. Now I'm an 18-year-old young adult dedicated to living my dreams, facing my fears, and helping others do the same.
The niche I mentioned that I had found earlier was public speaking. About two years ago, I realized I wanted to put on a safe driving presentation in my cousin's memory. One presentation in front of my school and I would be content I thought. After I finished my first one in front of 500 of my classmates and teachers, I knew it would not be my last.
Since my first speech, I have given nine more of the presentations with plenty more to come. I've shared Greg's story with almost 3,000 people. Along the way I have learned many things. I've learned that there is no common sympathy. There is only common empathy. Just because you have been through the same thing as another person, doesn't mean you know what they're going through. Another thing I have learned is that everyone has their own story, their own path they are currently walking on.
My path is to accomplish my dreams and hopefully inspire many others along the way to do the same. I currently just co-founded a project called "Forever Me" with my friend Kate. It's a mission to create universal acceptance for everyone that calls planet Earth home. We as people all fight our own battles and all have to overcome adversity. We as people, especially our generation, can change this world into what we want it to be. We have to keep moving forward, onwards and upwards.
If you want to know more about the "Forever Me" project, please check out our Twitter, @forevermeblog and our Tumblr page, forever-me-campaign.tumblr.com