“What you leave behind is not what is [written on] stone monuments,
but what [you have] woven into the lives of others.”
This is one of my favorite quotes, and a quote that reflected Kaitlin’s life.
But who is this Kaitlin, you ask?
Ah. From her appearance, she was just a typical, normal, teenager.
Who she was? She was a godly, set-apart woman who gave her dying wish away.
And left behind something beautiful.
Kaitlin Boyda, who lived with a faith and compassion that inspired hundreds of people to give to water projects through Compassion Canada, passed away Thursday, May 5, 2011 at age 17.
Kaitlin, from Lethbridge, Alberta, was diagnosed in the summer of 2009 with a cancerous brain tumour at age 16 and spent the last year and a half of her life battling its affects. When she was approached by the Children’s Wish Foundation in December 2010, she decided not to choose a wish to benefit herself, but to donate the wish to build a well for children in need in Uganda.
When others heard of Kaitlin’s generosity, they were inspired by her compassion and gave to help support other water projects in Uganda. Because of Kaitlin’s inspiration, 21 water projects have been built benefitting thousands of children and families.
Brenda Boyda, Kaitlin’s mom, reflects on her wish,
“Everyone always thinks in order to change the world you have to be someone who stands out in a crowd, be the best in school or the one who wins all the races, but Kaitlin has changed the world for more than 40,000 lives just by being obedient to God.”
Caring individuals from Korea, the UK, Australia, the United States and all across Canada came together and completely funded the entire 21 Ugandan water projects in just seven weeks. Other water projects are currently available for funding in Ethiopia and Ghana. To date, over $325,000.00 has been raised to bring clean water to children in need in Africa, much of it through people touched by Kaitlin’s story.
During a televised interview, Kaitlin explained,
“Even though I don’t want to be sick, if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have received this wish and others wouldn’t have wanted to help and all of these children wouldn’t have benefited. It is a humbling experience.” She went on, “We are only on earth for so long, and we need to make an effort for other people. It’s like we take a picture while we are here on earth — at the end of the day, what do you want the picture to look like?”
Kaitlin inspired those she met and those who simply heard her story. At only 17, she left a legacy that will impact the lives of thousands. Ian Lawson, Kaitlin’s Pastor from E-Free Church in Lethbridge describes her as,
“the picture of true Godly humility — she was not thinking about herself, but she was thinking of others.”
What do you want the picture to look like?