A year ago today, an amazing young man lost his battle to brain cancer. I say amazing, but that is an understatement. Most of you know his story. Some do not. Today I want to share some of the things that made him so special. Please take just a few minutes to read/watch/listen. It may give you something to believe in.
First, I will post the video I made in his memory. It kind of explains a lot of Laurence's life- his dedication to making the world a better place.
Since a young age, Laurence was intrigued by music. His favorite band was U2, and he credits the band to helping him through his depression and fight with cancer. Laurence originally asked Make A Wish to help him meet Bono, but then changed it. Instead, he wanted the money that WOULD be used donated to the ONE Campaign. Laurence got both. Make A Wish, ONE, and Bono himself were so impressed that they helped out. Laurence ended up raising $5,000 for the ONE campaign. Below are two videos- one of Laurence meeting Bono, and another of Bono giving Laurence a shout out during a concert.
The shout out happens around 5:45-5::50. He says "To Laurence Carolin, a great One Campaigner, who is losing his own life"
As if that wasn't enough, Bono wrote Laurence's parents, Pat and Lisa, a handwritten letter.
The letter says-
Temple Hill (personal letterhead from his home)
Lisa and Pat
Just a note to say how touched myself the band and everyone in the One Campaign was by Laurence. He was and remains a hero to us .. I have just come back from a screening of the U2 360 show from the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles where I sing Amazing Grace and One for him to commemorate a truly special spirit in the world for too short a time but eternal in his impact.
Love and blessing.
Jordin Sparks is one of my favorite artists. Luckily, I've been blessed enough to be able to get to know her a bit as well. She has one of the sweetest hearts in music. Last year, she announced that she was doing a MAD Award- giving recognition to someone who truly makes a difference. I had to nominate Laurence. Here is my nomination-
He has always been passionate about three things: soccer, music, and raising awareness on poverty. When he was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer at the age of 13, Laurence made it his mission to make every last second count. He was constantly writing letters on the dangers of poverty in Africa, as well as diseases such as malaria. Laurence created facebook groups and student organizations at his school for people to become involved. He has done a range of awareness activities, from food drives at his school to asking the Make A Wish foundation to donate the money he would have used for his wish to the ONE campaign instead. Laurence's original wish was to meet Bono from the band U2. When Bono found out about Laurence's selfless act, he insisted that he meet this young man. In September, Laurence was able to attend a U2 concert and meet the entire band. Bono was amazed. A few weeks later, when U2 did their first ever live broadcast, Bono mentioned Laurence in the middle of "With Or Without You". As Laurence became more and more ill, he has asked for more fundraisers for both the One Campaign and for Nothing But Nets. He set a goal to raise $20,000 for Nothing But Nets. As of January 2010, he has raised over $16,000. Laurence's days are numbered, and soon he won't be with us. However, he has been making a difference in this world since a very young age. He is an angel walking among us, and to say that he is making a difference is an understatement.
Laurence won the award, and his father Patrick was sent a beautiful pack. Jordin also spoke about him on stage in front of an audience full of VIP's. This year, the award was renamed to the Laurence Carolin M.A.D. Award. Thank you, Jordin!
Things I've Written
Writing is my outlet, and dealing with Laurence's passing was no exception. Here are the things I wrote the weekend he passed away:
"Close your eyes
Take one last breath
Take His hand, rest in His arms
We may not get it
But He needs you now
To protect the fearful
And save the fallen
To smile for the depressed
And heal the broken
The hearts you touched
Will miss you deeply
But those hearts are whole
Knowing the difference you've made
Your light keeps shining
Your presence we still feel
You'll always be apart of us
Now you're just one step ahead"
One person's spark
Can light the whole world
Yours was so bright
It will never go out
You may be gone
But it still shines on
Into the hearts of those in pain
Those full of fear and hate
I herby swear to live life for you
With you in my heart
And you watching over me
Keep on guiding, I know you will
Show us the way
Miss your gentle soul
I won't forget you
I love you, rest sweetly.
You should know that we lost a great one today. Laurence Carolin put his heart and soul into living his life for others. He raised awareness, he educated, and he inspired. At the age of 13, Laurence was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. Laurence used this to reach out to others. He raised awareness on poverty and disease in Africa and encouraged others to donate what they could. The things he did in his short life are more than most people dream of doing. God had to take Laurence away today. He took him peacefully, to release him from his struggles. It's okay, don't be mad. He was once an angel walking on earth, but now God needs him upstairs. Laurence was placed on this earth for a reason, and now he'll be up there, protecting us from pain. He may be gone, but his mission will live on forever. Right now Laurence is safely in the arms of his grandpa Jim, and I am positive that he is watching over the people of Haiti and gathering a team of angels to help them out. I'm positive that my good friend Amanda Jones is laughing with Laurence and holding his hand, as they watch over all the young children suffering from cancer on earth. I truly believe that if everyone was 1/2 the person Laurence was, things wouldn't be so bad. It is our duty to "carry each other, sisters and brothers". So I ask you, world, what are you going to do to be a little bit more like Laurence Carolin? Love and Blessings, Megan
And one on his birthday in September...
Your heart of gold was all we could talk about
And how you were constantly pouring it out for others, selflessly
I imagine when you closed your eyes for the final time
Your golden heart broke into pieces
Swirling gracefully into the sky,
Slowly headed toward the clouds,
Which grabbed onto the pieces, tucked them away in the safest place,
the pockets of the angels whose home lies within the clouds
when the rest of us down here get stuck
Pulled into destruction, ready to give up
The angels simply drop your gold from the sky
And it comes swirling gracefully back down,
Until it finds a new home in our hearts
And we can move forward, with a little golden piece of you to keep us going
And, finally, the new one I wrote today, on the anniversary of his death.
15th of January, 2009
I remember it so well
Picking up the phone on a long drive
Hearing the news that gave a new definition to tragedy
The simple phrase was all I needed-
It’s not that is was a surprise,
After 12 months of fighting I knew your strength was little
The tears I was crying weren’t out of shock
I just really don’t find it fair
Why do all the good ones go too soon?
I know things happen for a reason
And I should have faith in that
But I’m sorry, I just can’t understand
15 was much too young
Not a day goes by where I don’t miss you
I promised you I would live your mission
And yeah I’ve tried, but
I know I can do better, please show me how
I have a theory about my heart
It’s been broken, yes, but I think it’s sewn together
Each thread represents another one up there
Who’s watching over me
And all that I am is made up of
What they’ve taught me
Whenever it aches for suffering
Or I feel the drive to stand up and speak out
I know that’s you
And I thank you
You’re my courage
FYI, I only posted just a FEW things that really stand out to me. Laurence's mission was all over the place. You can go here: http://www.one.org/blog/2009/10/02/meet-laurence-carolin/ to read a little more, or just google his name.
I love you all. Very much.