My cousin Clayton passed away three years ago yesterday. That's him in the middle.
While I never had the chance to really know this kid, I wish I had. He lived in California, a world away from East Texas, and I only had the chance to be around him once, at a family reunion a few years back. He was the life of the party even then.
At not quite 19 years old, he died leaving behind a legacy that most of us never will in a full lifetime. He even had a chance to share his story with the youth of Frances Chan's church (among others).
His obituary was pretty darn inspiring:
Clayton Stanton McDonald went home to be with the Lord March 16, 2009 at 8:33 am just 40 days shy of his 19th birthday. He impacted more people in his short time on earth than many do in 75 or more years. He loved people and spent his days investing in people’s lives, always thinking of others before himself. Everyone who came in contact with him always considered him a close friend even if they only knew him for a brief period. Clayton was diagnosed with leukemia at 7 and underwent 2.5 years of chemotherapy, had two plus years of good health and then relapsed in 2003 and underwent a bone marrow transplant. He again experienced a 2+ year period of health and fell out of remission September 2006 and then underwent a second bone marrow transplant in January 2007, and was able to enjoy his senior year in high school with his classmates, even participation on the diving team and qualifying for the CIF championships. After a productive summer working with junior high youth ministry at Atascadero Bible Church and participating in a mission trip to Costa Rica, he began to feel anemic. A trip to Stanford in October 2008 indicated that the leukemia had returned for a fourth time. At this point it was clear that a cure was not possible. Clayton chose to forgo treatment and live out his final days without chemotherapy. He then took the opportunity to tell his story to all who would listen, speaking at Atascadero Bible Church, Cornerstone Church of Simi Valley and multiple schools and youth groups throughout the county. Finally on Wednesday March 11, 2009 he spoke to over 900 of his peers at Cal Poly.
To see more of his story Click Here. Clayton is survived by his mom and dad Wendy and Stan McDonald and his brother and sister Zack and Samantha, his grandparents and two great grandmothers and extended family.
The memorial celebration will be held at Atascadero Bible Church Saturday March 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm.
Seriously. Let his life be a message to you.
Clayton knew he had a mission to fulfill on this earth, and only a short time in which to complete it.
What about you?
Do you live like you have 100 more years, haphazardly wasting your days?
Or do you, like Clayton, make every moment count, never knowing if tomorrow might be the day....
Look at this blog post if you don't believe me.....this kid truly made an impact everywhere he went.
He wasn't afraid to die.
Do you need to make peace with God?
Do it now.