Eleven year old Brenden Foster died this day of Friday, 21 November 2008, but throughout this world he will be remembered always. His darkest hour was his brightest light. This is a story as much of his words as it is of his deeds.
His dying wish was to help the homeless. "They're probably starving, so give 'em a chance, food and water." It has become a national movement. He wasn't afraid to die. He had said that he just wanted to make a difference, before his time came. And he did!
He was a regular kid, who wanted to become marine photographer. Some time ago had been diagnosed with leukemia. As death was staring him in his face, its others that he was thinking about. The homeless caught Brenden's heartfelt attention. He had said, "Well, I was getting back from one of my appointments and I saw this big thing full of homeless people and then I thought. I should just get them something." That the country, even the world responded, he said, "I think that is great. You think that's great?"
He had one more wish, and that was to sprinkle wildflower seeds to save the bees. He had heard that the bees were dying off. His wish was answered by a retired pilot who asked his flying friends to sprinkle wild flower seeds around the world on Brenden's behalf.
He spoke with the wisdom of ages. Of that which made him feel sad, he had said was, "When someone gives up." His advice was, "Follow your dreams. Don't let anything stop you." Asked what he thought the best things in life are, he said, "Just having one."
If we can learn anything in this life, we can be inspired to do so by this young man.
Three years ago, doctors diagnosed Brenden with leukemia. His body may have been held back but his spirit excelled far beyond the dreams of most of us. On death, "It happens. It's natural," He said.
"I should be gone in a week or so", he had said. "I had a great time. And until my time comes, I'm going to keep having a great time," he said. I heard that he saw angels coming for him three times in the night before he left us. Then Brenden took his darkest hour and turned it into the brightest of light that truly can inspire the world
The day I met Brenden Foster, I met an old soul in an 11 year olds body.
I should be gone in a week or so, he said calmly.
When I asked him what he thought were the best things in life, Brenden said, Just having one.
I didnt understand how this child, who was a year younger than my own son, could be so courageous facing death.
It happens. Its natural, Brenden told me.
Three years ago, doctors diagnosed Brenden with leukemia. The boy who once rushed through homework so he could play outside found himself confined to a bed. But there was no confining his spirit.
I had a great time. And until my time comes, Im going to keep having a great time, he said.
Brendens selfless dying wish was to help the homeless.
Theyre probably starving, so giveem a chance, he said, food and water.
But Brenden was too ill to feed them on his own. So volunteers from Emerald City Lights Bike Ride passed out some 200 sandwiches to the homeless in Seattle.
Then Brendens last wish took on a life of its own.
A TV station in Los Angeles held a food drive. School kids in Ohio collected cans. People in Pensacola, Florida gathered goods.
And here in Western Washington, KOMO viewers from all over took part in the Stuff the Truck food drive in Brendens honor. Hundreds with generous hearts donated six and a half huge truck loads of groceries and more than $60,000 in cash to benefit Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline.
Brenden touched hearts all over the world. His wish came true, and he lived to see it.
He had the joy of seeing all of the beautiful response to his last wish, said his grandmother, Patricia McMorrow. It gives him great peace and he knows that his life has meaning.
Hes left a legacy and hes only 11, said his mother, Wendy Foster. Hes done more than most people dream of doing just by making a wish.
Days before dying, Brenden surprised us with a sudden burst of energy. He wanted to get off the oxygen, hop out of bed and go buy a video game. Wise beyond his years, but still a kid.
I have been so blessed to have this child. A mother couldnt ask for a better son, Wendy said.
The B-Man, as his family called him, had one more wish before going: sprinkle wildflower seeds to save the bees. He had heard bees were in trouble.
Someone answered B-Mans wish. A retired pilot asked his pilot and flight attendant friends to sprinkle wild flowers around the world, from Bali to Brazil, on Brendens behalf.
When asked what made him sad, Brenden said, When someone gives up.
Brenden Foster never gave up. Even as he clung to his last hours of life, Brenden kept giving.
Follow your dreams. Dont let anything stop you, he said.