The Legacy & the Tumor


Most girls Ally’s* age are reading Teen magazine and gossiping about boys; they’re not thinking about what they’re doing next week let alone what they want their lives to be known for.

Not Ally.

Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor three years ago and deemed “terminal,” she’s defied the odds and lives each day as if it’s her last…and that’s not a cliché.

“I don’t know if tonight will be my last night, or tomorrow or the next,” Ally told me within the first hour of meeting her. “So I figure I should make as much better as I can for those who will live to see it longer than I will.”

Her light brown hair hangs nearly down to her waist and she wears trendy sneakers and a constant smile. She laughs easily, is quick to introduce herself and marvels at much, specifically how we can make a difference in the world by simply recycling.

And she’s changed many lives around her, including her mother who laughed about having to get rid of her luxurious SUV for a more “green-conscious” choice to honor her daughter’s living legacy.

Ally makes me think. A lot.

We all are living with inoperable tumors; we all have limited grains of sand in our hourglasses. The difference? Ally recognizes and consciously lives out each of those “grains” to the fullest on a daily basis because it’s a reality for her.

So what’s my legacy? What’s your legacy? How are you (and I) daily considering how we are striving to fulfill that legacy and leave this planet (and others) a little better off than before we arrived? Are we living each day as if we are dying?


I came across this Tim McGraw song on Pandora just this past week. I hadn’t heard it in years and it struck a strong chord in me just as Ally’s story struck me today.

Maybe there’s a message in that for me. Maybe there’s one there for you, too.

*Name changed for individual’s privacy.


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