Michael Carroll, just 17 years old, died last week. People of compassion everywhere should mourn his passing.
I don't believe I've ever written a sentence like that one. But it's true. Carroll was both a very brave and a very kind young man. When people like him grace us with their presence, they leave a mark that in important ways will endure forever.
Years ago when I was young, what many of us wanted to do was "make a difference." That was our most important goal in life.
Carroll made a difference. Only God knows how many people's lives he touched.
As we have reported, Carroll, of Wheeling, was diagnosed in 2003 with one of the most dreaded diseases, leukemia. He battled his way through that but, in 2013, it was found he had a brain tumor.
In the midst of his own agony, he decided to do something for other very sick kids.
He invented "Michael's Meanies." He explained to us:?"I wanted to give something to the kids that they could take their anger out on. I thought of making these into a stress ball-like toy that the kids can squeeze hard, punch, or even throw them. My ultimate goal is for every child diagnosed with cancer to get one during their treatment."
He named them:?Terry the Terrible, Lily Lymphoma and Lousy Louie Leukemia.
Carroll pursued his idea, enlisting many others in his campaign. Now, Michael's Meanies are used in hospitals in every state and, no doubt, some overseas.
Who can say how many desperately ill children have been comforted by Carroll's little stress relievers? And who can say how many found in Michael's Meanies something that helped them overcome cancer, at least for a time?
What a big, truly wonderful difference he made!
And, God willing, he will continue to provide comfort and courage as those he taught so much pursue his campaign.
Sometimes, when young people die, the question arises:?How could a loving God permit that to happen? Theologists and philosophers can give us intellectually satisfying answers.
But think about this, too: God really must love us.
He gave us Michael Carroll, after all.
Myer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.