So, the design on the Relay for Life T-shirts that I was selling has a very special story behind it. I unexpectedly shared it with an audience at Relay for Life, and I've decided it is too good not to share with others. It is a powerfully, bittersweet story about love and loss; an ugly-beautiful moment that moves and inspires people. It is not my story or about me. It is his story and about how his life continues to move people to want to live better, do more and love unconditionally. On January 2, 2012, my nephew Colton Evans, passed away after a long, hard-fought battle with brain cancer. His 7 1/2 year battle with cancer was long and painful, but he never complained. He was a very special person who inspired and taught others more in his 17 years than most people will in a lifetime. He loved to laugh, watch movies, play with dogs of any kind and eat chocolate. I have so many special memories of Colton, including his outlook on life that was well beyond his age. Colton loved to have fun and make people laugh. Even his cancer treatments didn't stop him from carrying on and living life to the fullest. Not too long after Colton was diagnosed, he went with his mom to watch his big brother’s football game. His radiation and chemotherapy treatments had made him very weak, so they watched the game from their van. That was fine with him. He was just glad to be there instead of at the hospital for a change. While resting in the van, Colton watched as some kids were laughing and playing in some nearby mud puddles. Each time they ran back and forth through the muddy water, their clothes and shoes became stained darker and darker. His mom could tell he wished he could join them, but he never complained. While he was watching them, the mother of one of the little girls came over to her and was obviously not happy with her for getting her shoes muddy and wet. The little girl cried as her mother led her away from the mud puddles and the fun experience with her friends. As the mom and daughter walked away, Colton asked his mom why that mother was so mad at her daughter. Colton’s mom attempted to explained to him that the mom did not want her daughter to get her shoes dirty. However, this simple explanation did not make any sense to him. So, Colton looked at his mom in serious disbelief and said with great wisdom, “It’s just a little mud, Mom. It will wash off.” Her heart broke into pieces. Hearing those simple words from her own child completely overwhelmed her. Colton’s mom held back tears as she agreed with him and took in the irony and wisdom of the moment. Oh, how she wished that her little boy could run through those puddles and get muddy too! She would have given anything at that moment if he had the strength to run through puddles and get his shoes muddy! This story reminds us all that we should not let the little things in life that are not really important rob us of our joy. We should appreciate every moment we are given and not worry about getting a little “muddy” sometimes. Life is too short to worry about a little mud here and there! So if you get the chance...get your shoes muddy and be grateful for the experience! Colton would want you to!