Bottom of the 9th - Thanksgiving #2, Gratitude
"I'm Thankful for Cancer"
by Tom Walters
In honor of Hunter Neelley April 5, 2000 - October 12, 2014 (
above to hear from Hunter)
â€œLet your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt...â€ Colossians 4:6
I recently attended a funeral for Hunter Neelley a fourteen-year-old boy from our little town of Elizabeth, Colorado. Hunter was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer when he was just ten years old. Hunter was a remarkable young man, his faith and his kind heart showed through the toughest of life's challenges, his terminal illness as a child. One of Hunter's remarkable testaments was a paper he wrote at Thanksgiving for an elementary school assignment in the 4th grade.
"Three Things I'm Thankful For"
I'm thankful for many things but there are three things I'm most thankful for. I'm thankful for getting cancer, moving and my brother. I'm thankful for moving because our old house was small and boring. If we didn't move we wouldn't have met all of our new friends, we wouldn't have a big yard and my mom wouldn't be a bus driver.
I'm so thankful for having a brother because he's always there for me. If I didn't have a brother I wouldn't have anyone to play with, I wouldn't be doing sports, I wouldn't have someone there when I need him. I wouldn't have someone to pull me through the hard times like when I got cancer. I'm so thankful for my brother.
The last thing that I'm thankful for is cancer. Even though its been rough, I've had amazing things happen. I wouldn't have met friends in the hospital. I wouldn't have gotten an X-box. I wouldn't have gotten to spend as much time with my brother. I've had some of the most amazing experiences that I'm having. I wouldn't have had those without it, so I'm thankful for getting cancer even though it's been hard. I'm thankful for many things but these are the three things I'm most thankful for. If these things had never happened in my life it would be very different right now. I hope you are very thankful for many things too."
Almost a third of Hunter's short life was consumed with a rare and aggressive bone cancer that eventually took his life. Hunter's faith and his attitude of gratitude impacted everyone he encountered in ways that make us all want to be a better person.
If blessings do indeed come through suffering, adopt an attitude of gratitude in all circumstances as our friend Hunter did.
"Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one [c]voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." (
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