MJ Graves – A life well lived.
They talk about getting to the end of your life and having regrets – not enough time with your loved ones, not enough travel, not trying something you were interested in doing, not checking off your bucket list. We take great comfort in knowing that MJ’s only regrets were missing out on the rest of his life – “picking up his girlfriend in a super cool car, going to college, and becoming an engineer or a doctor,” NOT that he hadn’t lived the life he had.
When MJ first learned that he had cancer, he prayed for his parents, said that he knew it was all part of God’s plan, and he was going to use his experience to help other kids. When the Make-a-Wish Foundation granted MJ a Wish, he considered making a once in a lifetime memory such as an international trip or a tour of NASCAR racetracks, but he also considered a ‘charitable wish’. We talked at length about creating a charity benefiting kids fighting cancer. When he learned that he had relapsed and his cancer had metastasized (spread), he chose to create a foundation that would provide children in the hospital with TVs/video game systems/games on rolling carts, DVD/Blu-ray movies, and toys (see below to be a part of MJ’s legacy). There wasn’t time to complete the creation of the non-profit, but MJ’s Wish was granted three days before he passed with the help of 1 Million 4 Anna who accepted his $5,000 Wish donation and will spend per MJ’s instructions. MJ’s foundation, called MJ’s Vids For Kids Inc., will be created to help make pediatric oncology hospital stays more bearable for years to come.
At 13 years old, MJ had ridden a bike, a skateboard and a scooter. He had driven a car, a dirt bike, a go cart, a four-wheeler, and a side-by-side. He’d played soccer, baseball, basketball, and flag-football. He had been to concerts, professional sporting events, horse races, dirt track races, drag races, Indy car races, and NASCAR races. He’d ridden on roller coasters, in boats, on airplanes, and helicopters. He’d had pet dogs, cats, fish, and a goat named “Goatie.” As a Boy Scout MJ’s adventures included canoeing in Oklahoma, geocaching in the Rockies, summitting Blue Mountain in the dark to see the sunrise over Pikes Peak, sleeping in the trees, camp cooking in the wilderness, and playing the ukulele around the campfire with his Scout friends. In addition to all of that, MJ threw a mean Tomahawk . He was a fisherman, a hunter, and a rock hound for his momma. And he played a mean Texas Hold’em. At 8 years old his fast thinking and quick actions even saved the lives of a drowning father and his teenage son.
In only 13 years MJ had been to 39 US states. He had seen the White House, Mt. Rushmore, New York, Maine, the white sandy beaches of Florida, the swamps of Louisiana, the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, the Poconos, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the backroads of Colorado, and just about everything California has to offer from top to bottom. He visited the oceans on both coasts and the mountains in between. At 13 years old, MJ had really lived.
MJ found what we believe would have been lifelong friends, even if his life hadn’t been cut short. It didn’t matter if they were at the park, someone’s house together, or at their own homes talking on Discord while gaming. He was generous, always wanting to buy things for his friends, regardless of his allowance budget. He loved his friends.
MJ wasn’t perfect, but he ALWAYS had a pure soul. He was considerate of others, introspective, and wise beyond his years. MJ was incredibly witty and clever, making children and adults alike laugh full belly laughs literally until he was no longer able speak. When MJ knew his time was upon him, we asked him if he had anything he wanted to say to his friends. His words were simple and profound. “Savor every moment.”