I have been wanting to blog about this for a while this story for a while, so here it goes finally:
A few weeks ago I saw an online news headline that said, “Teen Dies on Christmas Day, Leaves Behind Touching Video”. I thought, OMG! How depressing!! A young person dies on Christmas day, of all days? And leaves behind a video?!? No thanks! My curiosity got the best of me and, of course, I went on to read the article about a boy named Ben Breedlove. For those of you not familiar, here it is a summary of Ben’s amazing story (now gone viral) from wikepedia.com:
On December 18, 2011, Breedlove released a 2-part video on YouTube, entitled “This is my story.” Using note cards, he explained about his heart condition, as well as the impact it had on his life. He also mentioned three near-death experiences.
“I was at school, walking in the hall. I could tell I was going to faint, so I sat on a bench. I passed out. The next thing I know, I woke up with EMS around me. I couldn’t talk or move, I could only watch what they were doing. They put the shock pads on my chest. I heard one of them say ‘They are ready’. And the other guy said ‘Go!’. I passed out again. My heart stopped and I wasn’t breathing for 3 minutes.”Breedlove on the third time he “cheated death”.
In the video, Breedlove describes the first time he “cheated” death, which was at the age of 4 when he had a life-threatening seizure. He goes on to describe an experience he had in a hospital while being wheeled on a stretcher, “There was this big bright light above me … I couldn’t make out what is was because it was so bright. I told my mom, ‘Look at the bright light’ and pointed up. She said she didn’t see anything.”
On May 3, 2009, Breedlove underwent surgery to insert a pacemaker. The pacemaker helped regulate his heart beat and gave him more energy. In the video he shows a red scar on his chest, where the pacemaker had been inserted.
In the summer of 2011, Breedlove fell into his second cardiac arrest, while in the hospital for a routine tonsillectomy. He stated that, “It was a miracle that they brought me back … I was scared to die, but am SO glad I didn’t.”
The third time Breedlove survived death was on December 6, 2011. While in the hall at Westlake High School, he felt that he was going to faint, so he sat down on a bench where he then passed out. The next thing he recollects is being surrounded by emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, and that he was unable to speak or move. He remembers passing out a second time after being resuscitated with a “shock pad“. During this time his heart ceased pumping blood for three minutes. While unconscious, Breedlove had a feeling of comfort similar to that of his first near-death experience. He recalls being dressed up in a white suit while standing alongside his favorite rap artist, Kid Cudi, in a white room. He asks at the end of the video, ” Do you believe in Angels or God?” and simply answers, “I Do.”
Breedlove died from a cardiac arrest on the evening of Christmas Day, 2011, at his parents’ home as family and friends were gathering for Christmas dinner. According to Ben’s school friend, he had received a new video camera for Christmas and was anxious to get outside and try it. While outside, he began experiencing shortness of breath and light headedness. Breedlove layed down in the yard then passed out. His parents called 911 and administered CPR until EMS arrived. Friends of the family were on their way to the Breedlove home to share Christmas dinner with them. However, when they arrived the yard was filled with emergency vehicles. Paramedics rushed Ben to the hospital, but all resuscitation attempts failed.
After reading the article I just had to watch the videos (obvies). Needless to say, I got chills. It gave me goosebumps. And, it certainly hit close to home. The song “Mad World” will never be the same to me again. Although it is tragic that Ben’s family had to lose him so early on in life, I feel like Ben’s story is everything BUT sad. Ben attempts to comfort humanity’s number one fear: death. He tells us that it’s not scary to die, and that life is not as intimidating as we make it out to be. His message is so beautiful and so honest. It brings me closer to accepting my own illness.
I urge everyone to know, as Ben does, that life is truley a gift. If you disagree … well, you have options.
Please see the videos for yourself: