Shalin Shah has left a legacy that is an inspiration to countless people. He was only 22 years old when he was diagnosed with stage IV synovial sarcoma with brain, lung and spinal cord metastasis, which is an extremely rare and aggressive cancer. He died nine months after his diagnosis on May 16, 2015 surrounded by family and friends.
Shah graduated from the University of Southern California in May 2014. He then went to Peru to volunteer with Peace Corps. It was there that he fell ill and developed a severe cough, which lead to his diagnosis. After receiving his terminal prognosis, Shah spent the remainder of his time living life to the fullest. He got married to his high-school sweetheart, Frances Chen. He also inspired people to find the beauty in every day. He encouraged people to step away from their busy lives and watch the sunset. Shah’s supporters have been posting photos of sunsets from all around the world using the hashtag #SunsetsForShalin.
In a final letter to his family and friends, Shah wrote,
“I guess you can say I finally figured out why all of this has happened to me, it’s to give me the opportunity to do this. I found my ‘purpose in life.”
Shah’s wife sent the Huffington Post this message:
On behalf of Shalin’s family and friends, thank you all so much for the outpour of love and support. Shalin was lucky enough to have seen his message inspire others before he passed and could not have been happier knowing that he was able help so many. He was an incredible, brave and joyful man and the world will miss him so much. We will all be working hard to live and love as Shalin has taught us and will continue to help others to do the same.
Later today, we are kicking off a call-to-arms to send a sunset from every corner of the world by May 24th as a commitment to seize the day and appreciate the joys of life in honor of Shalin and his legacy. (#SunsetsForShalin)
Shah’s legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of those he touched and those that he will continue to touch through this beautiful campaign.