SPOKANE, Wash. - Cancer is an awful disease. Those who have been through it or have watched a love one in the fight know exactly how awful it is. No one ever really thinks it will happen to them, but if it does, how will you respond?
If you knew when your last day on earth would be, how would that affect this moment, right now. Would your priorities change? Would there be someone you would forgive for something that happened in the past?
Sheldon Maul is 19-years-old. He graduated from Freeman High School in 2012 and went on to Spokane Community College where he walked on the golf team despite having very little golf experience; turns out, he is a really good golfer.
On April 8th 2013, after a couple months of experiencing lower back pain that was radiating down his leg and eventually caused him to lose feeling and movement in his foot and toe, Sheldon was diagnosed a very rare and aggressive form of cancer, osteosarcoma. Since then Sheldon has undergone aggressive chemotherapy and is currently recovering from a risky surgery at Seattle Children's Hospital that prevented the amputation of one of his legs. He is about to start another round of chemotherapy as well. Despite all the struggles that come with battling cancer on a daily basis, Sheldon is still finding ways to inspire and give back to others. A friend of the family, wanting to do something for Sheldon, designed a t-shirt to sell to raise money for a vacation fund so that Sheldon could plan a vacation once he was finished with his cancer treatment. She thought it would give Sheldon something to look forward to. Friends, family and people in the community bought the t-shirt and raised over $1,300. Instead of keeping the money for himself, Sheldon decided to donate the money to the Mark Rypien Foundation which helps families with children who are battling cancer. Sheldon is a young man who should also be looked up to for his courage, bravery and faith. His family and friends say his attitude has remained spectacular. "He fully believes he will beat this. He has not wished to hear odds and percentages from the doctors relating to his cancer. Sheldon has said multiple times, "Here are my own odds. It's a 100% chance I beat it, and a 100% chance it stays away." Sheldon also has a message he wants to share with everyone: "Realize that every day is a blessing and an opportunity to get a little bit better. Never stop chasing your dreams and don't let anyone tell you you can't." Sheldon would give anything to have his life back to normal and he says that "if we all could realize what a blessing that is, we might all try a little harder to give our best every day." Sheldon is definitely taking his own advice and continuing to chase his dreams. He says he will beat cancer, he will go back to college, and he will play golf again someday. If you would like to follow Sheldon's journey you can go to his Caring Bridge page by CLICKING HERE. This story was written by KHQ's Nichole Mischke. Email her at Nichole.Mischke@khq.com