On December 18, 2011, 18-year old high school senior Ben Breedlove uploaded a very personal video to YouTube about living with a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and multiple near death experiences. Just one week later, on Christmas day, Ben died of the heart condition and his emotional video has gone viral as a result.
In a similar fashion to a number of anti-bullying videos that we’ve seen, Ben tells his story on a series of note cards, with the Michael Andrews and Gary Jules cover of Tears For Fears’ Mad World playing in the background. He writes, “The first time I cheated death was when I was 4.” He tells the story of the calming bright white light he saw as he was being wheeled down the hospital hall on a stretcher and how, when he saw it, he couldn’t help but smile.
He goes on to tell the story about he cheated death once more in 2007 and then again just weeks ago, on December 6, 2011. This most recent time he says that while he was unconscious he saw himself in a white room in a nice suit with his favorite rapper, Kid Cudi. Once again, he couldn’t help but smile. He writes, “It was THE BEST feeling.” When he came to, after his heart and breathing had stopped for a solid three minutes, he was disappointed. He writes, “I wish I NEVER woke up.”
Ben’s haunting smile stays with you, even after the video has ended.
Kid Cudi responded to the video on his Tumblr:
“I am so sad about Ben Breedlove. I watched the video he left for the world to see, and him seeing me in detail, in his vision really warmed my heart. I broke down, I am to tears because I hate how life is so unfair. This has really touched my life in a way I can’t describe, this is why I do what I do.”
Ben’s dad told NBC’s KXAN, “I spoke to a friend who was in the room with him when he made that video and he was just enjoying what he was doing but it was obviously a very serious subject matter for him to discuss and for him to share with other people.” But he did add that, “One of the things I noticed about that video is he was very confident in what he was sharing that day. And he wasn’t sad when he made that video.”
Ben’s mother says that Ben died right after they opened their Christmas presents. She says, “I just think Ben opened doors for a lot of people to think about something that maybe they’ve never thought about before. And to me that is a wonderful gift.”
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.