Good from tragedy

Ben Breedlove becomes a global phenomenon: Giving back even in death

Ben Breedlove becomes a global phenomenon: Giving back even in death

Ben Breedlove left a legacy of strength and courage when he died on Christmas day. The 17-year-old, who recorded his belief in an afterlife on YouTube just a week before dying of a heart attack, is now recognized as inspiring people around the world with his self-produced videos, his online memorial service and his message of hope still alive.

On Wednesday students returned to Westlake High School wearing white as a tribute to Breedlove. They chose the color to reflect the vision Breedlove described in his "This is my story" YouTube videos. A donation drive organized by the student government will raise money for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) research — the disease that took Breedlove's life.

 His YouTube videos have been viewed over six million times and ranked as the "top rising search" on YouTube last week.

Soon red bracelets will be available from the HCM Association, personalized to read "RIP Ben Breedlove." 

"We're kind of envisioning, like when were graduating, you see all the white robes with the red bracelets, as a way to keep him with us, and then through the rest of our lives," Westlake High School Student Council vice president Mehul Mehta told KXAN-TV.

Breedlove is now a global phenomenon. His YouTube videos have been viewed over six million times and ranked as the "top rising search" on YouTube last week. Over 1,000 videos are now tagged with his name, most of them tributes and memorials — a demonstration of hope reaching millions of people. 

His memorial service, held at Gateway Church is now available in its entirety online.

Here are the videos that inspired millions:

 

Austin Photo Set: News_Ben Breedlove_cultural phenomenon_jan 2012_student wear white
Students from Westlake High school wore white Wednesday in remembrance of Ben Breedlove. Courtesy of Westlake Picayune
Austin Photo: News_Kevin_Ben Breedlove_Dec 2011
Courtesy of YouTube