If you were told you or your child had six months to live, what would you do?
"I wanted a perfect ending.
Now I've learned, the hard way,
that some poems don't rhyme,
and some stories don't have
a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change,
taking the moment and making the best of it,
without knowing what's going to happen next.
When Marley Jacob Pratt was fifteen years old, he was told he was one of the youngest on record to have squamous lung cancer, and that it would likely kill him before he turned 16. Like most teenagers, he figured the authorities just didn't know what they were babbling about. It was up to him to prove them wrong by packing in as much living as possible.
"What if you slept, and what if in your sleep you dreamed,
and what if in your dream you went to heaven
and there you plucked a beautiful flower,
and what if when you awoke
you had the flower in your hand?
Oh, what then?"
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Even if Marley had been a "normal" teenager, this story would be an adventure, but he wasn't. Marley looked at life upside down, thus everyone he came in contact with was touched by his viewpoint.
"A genius is an African who dreams up snow."
The only thing that Marley didn't care about was other people's opinions. He felt free to Be. Being self-conscious was a waste of time in his mind. The two most important things in Marley's life were community and having tremendous amounts of fun. This story focuses on how Marley learned to ride the waves of life and death. But in truth, this story is about all of us. As unique as Marley was, he was—and always will be—the perfect symbol of the simplicity of what we all strive for; unconditional love.
Narrated by his mother, Marley Rides also contains the e-mails sent to the ever-growing number of people who have become a part of Marley's support network. These letters began as a way to inform Marley's family and friends of medical updates, but the list quickly grew to include hundreds that never met Marley. This young hero impacted the lives of so many, because of what he survived and how he dealt with adversity.
Marley is gone but his story lives on.
We hope you enjoy Marley's website. Once you've glimpsed Marley's world, maybe you will chose to dive deeper into it by reading Marley Rides. Regardless, we want to provide you with a site filled with humor to make you laugh, insights to make you ponder, and information that may help you if you ever encounter sickness and death.
"I'm looking forward to the most fascinating experience of my life,
which is dying.
You've got to approach your dying the way you live your life—
with curiosity, with hope, with fascination, with courage,
and with the help of your friends."