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This Amazing Kid Got To Enjoy 19 Awesome Years On This Planet. What He Left Behind Is Wondtacular.

Zach Sobiech, at the age of 14, found out he had a rare form of terminal cancer. So he became a rock star, and millions of people got to see his music before he passed away on May 20, 2013. When we originally shared his story last year, 17 million of you watched this, and his song "Clouds" became the first independent hit to reach #1 on the iTunes music charts. While there is lots of funding for research on the more prevalent cancers of the world, there's never enough funding to accomplish the research needed to cure rare cancers like the one Zach had. You helped raise over $750,000 for research into a very rare cancer. Which made me very happy.This is his beautiful story.

This Amazing Kid Got To Enjoy 19 Awesome Years On This Planet. What He Left Behind Is Wondtacular.

UPDATE (5/8/2014): The folks at SoulPancake did a follow-up documentary short on his family in the year since Zach's passing, which you can watch here:

You never know what to expect until you lose someone dear to your heart this way. I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer far too early. If you wouldn't mind sharing this so more people hear Zach's story, I'd love it. His family has requested that anyone who is interested in helping change the fate for future children like Zach donate to the research fund set up on his behalf. His form of cancer rarely gets enough research funding because it's so rare, so donations like yours are really important.


You can also buy his album on iTunes, with the proceeds going to the research fund.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

As it turns out, underdog stories can have cats as the main character.

Purrington Cat Lounge, where "adoptable cats roam freely and await your visit" and patrons can pay a small entry fee for the chance to sip coffee alongside feline friends, boasted legendary adoption rates since its conception in January 2015.


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