While most high school seniors have spent the school year looking ahead to the future, terminally ill Lakeland, Minnesota teenager Zach Sobiech has spent his time staring down the unimaginable. As his classmates made plans for prom, filled out college applications, and made plans for the future, Zach and his family were dealing with a harsh reality: his bone cnacer had started spreading so rapidly that he knew he may not make it to graduation.
He had also become a commercially successful singer/songwriter behind the viral Youtube hit “Clouds.”
He passed away on Monday.
Zach, 18-years old, battled a rare kind of cancer for most of his teen years after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma when he was 14-years-old. As a way to say good-bye to his friends and family, Zach wrote a song called “Clouds” that he uploaded on YouTube in December. The deeply personal video went viral and ended up touching the lives of millions of people on the Internet.
Zach’s amazing story also caught the attention of The Office’s Rainn Wilson’s YouTube channel, SoulPancake, and they made a short documentary about the teen’s journey, “My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech.”
Watch the inspiring video below to learn more about Zach’s incredible life.
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In the documentary, viewers learn about Zach’s diagnosis and the inspiration for “Clouds” through interviews with his family, close friends and his girlfriend, Amy.
“He’s shown me it’s not all about the grades you get, or how cool you are in high school,” Amy says. “It’s about doing what makes you happy and no matter when you’re going go to, live life to the fullest every day.”
We don’t realize how little amount of time we actually have in this world and to see someone who has SO little time and yet chooses to live so much, despite the odds against him, is truly inspiring. We all have problems in our life. Some are big, some are small. Your quality of life is dependent on how you react to those problems.
You can either wake up every day and choose to focus on the negative, whether it’s the fight you got in last night with your significant other, the car that cut you off on your morning commute, or the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against you. Or you can wake up everyday and choose happiness. You can choose to be thankful for the blessings in your life and the time, no matter how finite it may be, that you have.
If Zach’s story can teach us anything, it’s this: You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living. Choose happiness. Life’s too short.
Zach’s song, ‘Clouds’ is available on iTunes and the proceeds benefit the Zach Sobiech Research Fund of Children’s Cancer Research.
Here’s the star-studded video tribute to Zach:
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And the original YouTube video for “Clouds:”
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