I don’t have many memories from my early childhood. I don’t remember taking my first steps, saying my first words, or playing with my friends at daycare, but I do remember the first time I met Connor Cruse. We were both in Mrs. King’s PreK-4 class, and we had both just begun the most exciting day of our lives up to that point—our first ever day of school. Although I didn’t know it at the time, the young boy that talked with me on that first day of school would become one of the most influential people in my life. It speaks volumes about Connor’s character and impact that he is the only of my close childhood friends that I have a vivid memory of meeting. Connor was the type of person that no one could ever forget. From the way he loved his friends to the way he demonstrated a strength of faith that I have yet to see in any other person, Connor left a legacy of inspiration with each and every person he knew. Even people in distant places that never personally met Connor were touched by his story and by the power of his faith in the Lord. Even though he is not physically with us here on earth, the legacy of Connor’s story continues to impact the lives of families whose children are affected by childhood cancer, the school community he loved so much, and every single person that had the pleasure of calling him a friend. Each time I am asked to share my testimony, I always talk about the example that Connor set for living a life completely sold out for the gospel. Seeing the way that Connor persevered through incomprehensible adversity made me realize the true depth of relationship that Christians can have with Jesus.
Dealing with the death of one of my closest friends was extremely difficult for me as an 8 year old kid. For a long time, I was angry at God and confused why He would take Connor away. Slowly, though, I began to understand that Connor’s story didn’t end with his passing. His story continues to shape the world for the kingdom of God in ways that even the strongest Christians I know could only dream of. Connor’s faith moves mountains even in his absence from the earth. I cannot wait to see him again one day and tell him about the incredible work God has done through his story both in my own life and across the world. To learn more about the important work of TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation please visit TeamConnor.org.
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