An Inspiration, Lost

My accountability post will be published a little later today because I want to talk about something significantly more important.

Late yesterday evening I got a very sad message from my mother. She said that she hated to have to tell me this, but my cousin Ryan Gillis died earlier that day in a car accident. He was only about my age.

Growing up, Ryan had a lot of problems with drugs. He struggled with them and went through the system more than once, and in those days we all worried whether anything would ever become of him. But in past years Ryan has pulled his life together in a way that was absolutely incredible. He went completely clean and sober, and got huge into yoga and fitness. He visited less-fortunate countries to bring love and support to the people there, and he traveled all over the country to visit schools and talk to them about just exactly what drugs do to a person. I have seen his name pop up so often on Facebook as students from every province took to their status updates to talk about this amazing guy who shared his story with them. It always amazed me to see what an impact he was making.

The most important thing in his life over the past few years has been staying positive, spreading the message of love and faith and pulling yourself through the bad times, and so it seems terribly unfair that he should be taken from the world now, when he was doing so much good and finally truly living his life.

So on behalf of Ryan, I want to say to everyone: Whatever you’re going through – no matter how bad it gets – there are ways out. You can find help, you can be stronger than you think you are, and you can turn your life into something that you’re proud of. You just have to have a little faith and be willing to fight for it.

We all love you and the world will miss you, Ryan.