A remarkable young man had a week to remember, capped by a night that made him feel like a king, in his own words. John Challis is an 18-year-old high school athlete from Beaver County, near Pittsburgh, who has terminal liver and lung cancer. He came to international attention recently when he made a comeback with his high-school team and rapped out a pinch-hit single. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did a story on Challis and his feat but it was the young man's equanimity in the face of a terrible disease that touched the newspaper's readers. In short order, he was the subject of stories on television and radio.
"Life ain't about how many breaths you take," Challis told the Post-Gazette. "It's what you do with those breaths." Aside from his multi-media appearances, Challis was elected prom king at his high school and topped it all off by attending the Penguins' 4-2 playoff win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night. He was a guest in Mario Lemieux's private box, where he met Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smolz. "My head is spinning," he said. "This week has just been incredible and now this. It was like someone dropped me off at the wrong party.
"I felt like one of the kings of the city for a few minutes with those guys. I really can't think of experiencing anything better than this, except maybe going to Rome or meeting God for the first time."
You can read the complete Post-Gazette story here.