A few weeks ago I mentioned the sad story of Dan Crews, the 27 yr. old quadriplegic who wants doctors to remove his ventilator so that he can die. Emily Bissonnette had the wonderful idea, which I highlighted as well, of encouraging people to send letters of love and support, letting Dan know that his life still has value – and they did! According to ABC News, Dan has been “swamped” with letters from all over the country from people who do not want him to die, urging him to “keep the faith.” It is truly a beautiful outpouring of love:
One woman from Seattle wrote Crews, “The world is in need of you.”
“Please never give up hope,” wrote another with no return address. “Please never give up hope. It’s the reason you were put on this earth.”
Another man from Boulder, Colo. sent photos and shared his love of sports with Crews, who is a Denver Broncos and Chicago Bulls fan. “I was touched by your story,” he wrote. “I hope your Thanksgiving was nice.”
“I am so sorry your life is so difficult,” wrote a woman from Fort Worth, Texas, whose husband killed himself after a cancer diagnosis. “I really encourage you. Your life has great value beyond understanding.”
One of her co-workers was a quadriplegic after an accident, and she wrote, “He was so inspirational for me and others.”
“You are thinking your condition might not have impact or value in the future,” she wrote. “But that is a lie. You made an impact on me that I stopped what I was doing to write you.”
One couple even wants to drive from Oklahoma to Illinois to visit Dan in person:
“We’d like to be an inspiration to Mr. Crews,” said Donna Jackson, 46, of Oklahoma City (whose husband has been a quadriplegic for 25 years). “He has a purpose in this life.”
Sadly, Crews is, thus far, not budging, saying, “It’s been very pleasant, but my mood is the same.” He admits that the problem is largely financial and said that he will not change his mind about dying, unless someone can “donate millions and millions of dollars and help pay off my major debt.” But that is only part of it. Says Crews, who reportedly had a very happy childhood despite his injury, “I am just tired of living like this.” So, what happened between that happy childhood and today, besides running out of money, to make Mr. Crews lose the will to live? I think this says it all:
Crews, who is Lutheran, said he used to believe in God, “the devil, heaven and hell, faith and sinner and angels.”
“Now, I think God is a distant relative who doesn’t return phone calls and e-mails,” he said. “I believe he exists, but doesn’t listen.”
Not only does he currently spend his days alone, strapped to a bed in front of the TV and is, at the age of 27, facing the possibility of life in a nursing home due to lack of funds, but, in the midst of it all, he has also almost completely lost his faith in God, apart from Whom life has no meaning.
Very sad, indeed. But thank God for all of these amazing people who went out of their way to affirm the life of a complete stranger. That is God at work, answering his email. He doesn’t see it now, but I pray that he will sometime very soon.