He Only Had Five Months to Live, But What He Did Inspired the World

National   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Sep 5, 2014   |   4:01PM   |   Washington, DC

Zack Sobiech was only 14 years old when doctors discovered that he had a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma. He battled the disease for four years and had 10 surgeries and 20 rounds of chemotherapy. But in May 2012, doctors told his family that Zack only had months to live. This grim news devastated the Sobiech family, which included his parents Rob and Laura, and siblings’ Alli, Sam, and Grace.

zackHowever, in a society where euthanasia is becoming the answer for terminal illness, Zack’s last days on earth showed the world how to live when you are dying. In his video “My Last Days”, Zack said he wanted to “go down fighting” and “not really lose.” That’s when he started to write music to encourage people who are suffering. Zack wanted to leave behind a legacy of strength in the midst of adversity. He didn’t want cancer to take the joy and hope out of his final moments with his friends and family.

On the Katie Couric talk show “Katie”, Zack’s mother, Laura Sobiech said her son had instructed his family and closest friends on how he wanted to live his last moments. He wanted to go into hospice care and remain conscious during his passing. Zack’s uncommon and brave choice allowed him to have the last few moments of his life with his loved ones.

On May 20th, 2013, only 17 days after his 18th birthday, Zack passed away in his Minnesota home. After his death, his video “Clouds” reached over seven million views on YouTube and his song pushed up to #1 spot on iTunes, Spotify, and the Billboard charts. People from all over the world responded to his music and wrote the family letters about how Zack impacted their life.

But can you imagine what the world would have lost if Zack didn’t have those final months? His family wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to spend extra time with him and all the people suffering around the world would have missed his inspiring, hope-filled music.

In the United States five states have legalized physician-assisted suicide and many states have considered “right to die” legislation. Some people believe that the patients like Zack would die a more dignified death if a doctor were allowed to kill them. Yet, Zack’s life is a testament to how a terminally ill patient can make their last moments beautiful.

Take a few extra minutes today and watch this inspiring video documenting Zack’s final days.