Influence- the power to have an effect on someone, shown only in the result of the effect.

The major influence in my life was, and probably still is, my cousin Bethany. Bethany was the most beautiful person both physically and spiritually. It didn’t matter whom you were, whether nice or just down right mean, she would show you all the love and compassion that a person could possibly give. But the worst things always seem to happen to the best of people, because the summer after Bethany ’s senior year in high school (2001), she was diagnosed with a primitive germ cell tumor attached to her lung. Even after months of radiation and chemotherapy, she died in October, only eighteen.

Though her life on earth was not as long as one might hope for, she was an extremely positive influence on hundreds, including me, through her love for Jesus Christ and people. Through her life, death, and still today, people hear her story and have the desire to become more like her and more like Christ. She has touched my life personally through her death by coming to the realization that my time on this earth is short and I could die right now. But knowing that shouldn’t make me depressed or worried about dying; it should make me want to get out in the world and tell more people about Christ and his everlasting love for everyone.

I don’t know what God’s plan for me is, but I think I have a pretty good idea that Bethany was put on this earth to die so that hundreds of people could be influenced by her, and live… eternally in paradise. I am just proud to say that I knew her, and that I was influenced by her life and her death, and every day I try to become more like her. So that when I die, people will look back at my life and say, “Wow, that girl really loved the Lord, I want to be more like her,” Just like Bethany.

-Whitney Bledsoe, 01/21/03