Written by Natalie Green, Africa New Life Staff
I had the delight of meeting and getting to know the Breedlove family in 2001. Ally was placed in my very first 4th grade class at Regents School of Austin. And her mother, Deanne, was one of my wonderful “homeroom moms.”
JOYFUL. THOUGHTFUL. KIND-HEARTED. GENEROUS. SALT OF THE EARTH.
Those words do not scratch the surface but they are spot on. The entire family, Shawn, Deanne, Ally, Ben and (baby!) Jake were always full of joyous smiles and understanding, bright eyes.
On Christmas night 2011, Ally and Jake’s brother, Ben, went to be with Jesus when his lifelong heart condition caused his heart to stop beating.
While his sweet smile, knowing eyes and joyful spirit are no longer with us on earth, the heartbeat of his legacy beats strong and lives on.
The Breedlove family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support shown for Ben. They would like to extend their thanks to everyone who has reached out to show their love for Ben and their family. Ben’s family has requested that all donations in memory of Ben be given to Africa New Life Ministries to love and serve the children of Africa.
Prior to his passing, Ben spoke of his desire to impact the lives of impoverished children in Africa but was just not sure how…
Ben’s family knows now.
They believe he would be honored and love knowing that his celebrated life and legacy changed the world for the lives of so many vulnerable children.
“Though the sorrow may last for the night, His JOY comes with the morning.”
To give in Ben’s memory please click here: The Ben Breedlove Memorial Fund
Be blessed by Ben’s videos:
Courtesy of Austin American Statesman
Austin teenager Ben Breedlove died on Christmas but not before leaving his loved ones a cherished gift that quickly became an Internet sensation.
Breedlove, who was 18 when he succumbed to a lifelong heart condition, loved making funny videos and had his own channel on YouTube in which he gave girls advice about boys. True to form, his final message is a video .
His loved ones found it hours after he had an apparent cardiac arrest at home. In it, Breedlove talks about cheating death three times and describes a vision that he had when his heart stopped earlier this month and his desire to stay in that peaceful place.
Watching the two-part video Breedlove made days before he died, “I can’t tell you the kind of joy” it brought, said his mother, Deanne Breedlove. “It was a gift to us, and for him to be so confident and unafraid of death and to share it with other people was so touching.”
Breedlove is shown holding up written note cards rather than speaking about his close calls with death. The video was featured Tuesday on a variety of websites, including the Huffington Post, and on Facebook and Twitter. Many wrote they were tearful and inspired.
“I am going to achieve my dreams for you, Ben. I will,” one commenter wrote.
“And I’m not going to fear anything or let fear get in the way of anything now.”
A follower on his YouTube channel, “OurAdvice4You,” thanked him for his help: “Ben, I never personally met you but I watched your videos and … remember … thinking, ‘Whoever ends up with him will be the luckiest girl on Earth.’”
In his last video, Breedlove recounts the vision he had previously described to his family and friends when he “cheated death the third time,” on Dec. 6. He had a cardiac arrest at Westlake High School, where he was a senior.
While he was being revived, he saw himself with his favorite rapper, Kid Cudi, and the two were wearing suits.
“The first thing I thought was, Damn, we look good!’” he recounted. “I then looked at myself in the mirror. I was proud of myself, of my entire life, of everything I have done. It was the best feeling. I didn’t want to leave that place.”
The rap artist wrote on his blog Monday that he was in tears after seeing the video.
Best friend Grant Hamill said he didn’t know of the video until after his friend had died. Breedlove had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle that makes it work harder.
“It was rough seeing him and what he was thinking about,” Hamill said. “He hated the hospital and being constrained. We didn’t talk about it. He wanted me to be just his friend.”
Breedlove enjoyed wakeboarding, playing guitar and drumming. He hunted with an adult family friend, Mark Kohler, who called him funny, smart and “an old soul.”
He used YouTube to influence his peers, said Kohler’s wife, Pam. “Obviously, he knew what he was doing when he left this message,” she said.
Breedlove’s mother said she was grateful for the goodness it had inspired. “Ben himself was full of joy,” she said, “and to be his parent was a huge blessing.”
BENJAMIN DANIEL BREEDLOVE
On Christmas night, our son, Ben Breedlove received a gift greater than any we could have given him. He stood in the presence of his Lord and Savior and felt the peace that surpasses all understanding. Ben’s 18-year-old heart may have been afflicted with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, but his physical limitations didn’t keep him from experiencing the things he loved—in fact, he found extraordinary ways to expand on those experiences and take us all along for the ride. He had a curiosity for learning (remember the drum kit?), and his quick, analytical mind sought ways to be the best at whatever captured his attention. He loved wakeboarding, shooting, and playing Call of Duty. His claim to fame was when he and little brother, Jake, beat Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley in an online match. And they did it gleefully! There are so many ways to describe Ben: he was witty, sharp and funny, and his pranks were legendary. Just ask the unsuspecting drivers on City Park Road! He knew how to operate outside the system, while accomplishing his goals in an honorable fashion. While Ben never seemed to take anything seriously, his happy- go-lucky nature was matched with a warm, loving and candid personality. His YouTube channel gives witness to what his legion of female admirers thought of him! And now the world has come to know our Ben. He was a genius at using the Internet to reach and influence his peers. Through his brilliance with maneuvering the capabilities of YouTube, Ben has left a message for his generation. In the weeks prior to his death, he had faced some scary situations with his health, but had been given an amazing gift that he was determined to share; first with us, his family, and then, not surprisingly (and generously) with his YouTube audience. We know the Lord used the amazing life of our precious son to reach a weary world on Christmas night, just as He did over 2000 years ago with his own Son. We invite you to visit YouTube, and just enter “Ben Breedlove” and receive the gift that Ben hoped would change your life. Ben was abundantly loved by his devoted family: parents, Shawn and Deanne; sister, Ally; and brother, Jake. Waiting to start the party in Heaven were both his grandmothers, Jan Breedlove and Sue Raine. Ben left grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, countless friends of the family, fellow students at Westlake High School, and members of the Internet Generation to mourn the loss of his creativity, wittiness and beautiful smile. Ben has left a lasting impression and legacy far beyond his 18 years. While the pain of losing Ben will never be far, his life is serving a greater purpose. You were always full of surprises, Ben, and this is the best one yet! “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord.” Memorial services will be conducted at three o’clock in the afternoon, Thursday, the 29th of December at Gateway Church, 7104 McNeil Drive, Austin, Texas 78729.