Shalin Shah was only 22 years old when he learned he had a rare form of cancer that would end his young life. Now, with roughly a week to live, he has one final wish — not for himself, but for you.
Shalin’s family and friends have been amazed by his strength and wisdom during the ordeal. His cousin told Huffington Post he has been the one to comfort the family during such an emotional time.
“He’s completely shaped the way my family thinks about life and gratitude. He’s carried the entire family through, and it’s brought us all so much closer together.”
In February, tests revealed Shah had only six to nine months to live (that time has now been shortened to one week). Since then, he has focused on living his final days to the fullest. He married his high school sweetheart, Frances Chen, and together they have been celebrating life in every way they can. After learning of his terminal prognosis, he sent an uplifting email to his family and friends.
“I feel as if I was born for this end, this was my fate from birth, and there is a greater unknown purpose which was meant for my life which no one may ever figure out. Nonetheless, I am certain that there is a reason for my early exit and only the heavens know what that is.”
He explained he feels very blessed to have had the experiences and opportunities he has already had in his short life. He then encouraged them to help him beat cancer by celebrating each day he had left.
“Now, it’s time for us to celebrate as I seize the day! Together let’s show everyone how you really beat cancer, by living to the fullest up until the very end!”
Chen helped her husband fulfill his wish of attending Coachella when it seemed impossible. Knowing he had always wanted to go, she tried to get tickets, but they were sold out. After writing a letter explaining Shalin’s story, the couple was given a free VIP pass. Not only were they treated to the best of everything the festival had to offer, Shah was able to meet his favorite music artist, Usher.
Shalin decided to share his story with the world so he could help inspire others to view life as the beautiful gift that it is. He feels cancer gave him purpose in encouraging others to live more positive and fulfilling lives.
“I strongly believe everything happens for a reason. Had terminal cancer not happened to me, I would not have been able to inspire my closest friends and family to appreciate the beautiful gift of life a little more and live more appreciative and positive lives with my story. This is the purpose of my life I had been searching for all of my life — to inspire positive personal change in as many people as possible.”
Shah’s loved ones started a social media movement, #SunsetsforShalin, to share his spirit and encourage others to appreciate the beauty of life. Frances said her husband loves sunsets, and for him they represent taking time to enjoy life’s daily blessings.
Shalin Shah penned a final, heartfelt letter to the world, offering the amazing wisdom he has gained through his journey. His wife and cousin also joined Huffington Post Live this morning to share his story and #SunsetsforShalin.
[Images by Frances Chen via Huffington Post]