I was going to write about the 85 year old woman who held a 17 year old burglar at gunpoint until the police showed up, but something else happened that I just have to write about.
On Tuesday, 18 year old John Challis of Freedom, PA lost his hard-fought battle with cancer. While there are many other young people who suffer from the same disease, none of them touched as many people as John. His outlook on life and his ability to cope with a deadly disease with a smile made him special.
Pittsburghers first became aware of John back in April. He'd already been suffering from cancer for two years, but Freedom baseball coach Steve Wetzel gave him the opportunity to pinch hit in a game. John got a hit on the first pitch and scored a run.(Photo by Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Shortly after that, John's story was playing on every local station, and soon other cities. John got to hang out with Mario Lemieux and the Penguins, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and even the New York Yankees. He was featured on ESPN, and received letters from all over the country written by people who had been touched by his story.
He might have become a celebrity, but John's mission was to help other people. One of his goals, which he met, was to start the Courage for Life Foundation to help other teenagers with cancer.
John's motto was Courage + Believe = Life.
We should all be so profound.