As a mother, the only true nightmare is that your child will pass away before you.
I remember, prior to losing my own son; watching the news and seeing these kinds of tragedies happening to someone else’s family. We would shake our head, said a little prayer and, sadly, we were relieved that it wasn’t happening to us. We always feel bad when we hear of a tragedy, yet, it doesn’t really seem like real life and one would never ever think that it can happen to them or their family. In essence, all of us continue to go about our daily lives.
One day, everything changed. It became real life. I now find myself being that “mother” on the news. I am her. We are that family.
My son, Billy, was in no way a model child or a perfect little angel. What we used to consider his “bad side”, has actually turned out to be what made him so special. Billy was sarcastic, he pushed people’s buttons and he dared you not to notice him and what he was up to. He looked past what the rest of us would consider "Norms" and cared little about what people thought of him and his behavior.
We could always count on Billy to say out loud what the rest of us were thinking. He made you stop and think about what is right. Through his sarcasm, jokes and limit pushing, he became larger than life.
Billy was always doing for others and never looking for any credit. You would never see Billy trying to get credit for his inner kindness. It was just there.
Billy was the one who made the new kid feel special, the outcast feel accepted and the challenged kid feel needed. Billy was just the cool kid who made you laugh, made you cry and made you want to do a little better.
At my son's funeral, each classmate told us that no matter what kind of day they were having, Billy made them smile and wouldn’t stop until they did.
I had so many goals and dreams for my Son. It seems too, like he had his own....which were to Change the world a little, make them smile, and then head out, stage left.
What I have left is this platform for life that he has created. Billy set the stage for cool and funny kids, kids who are leaders with their peers; to do good things in his name.
Our goal is to continue bringing the Underdog into the spotlight and acknowledging our kids with special needs.
Although ours may not be the conventional scholarship, it is one that is much needed for too many kids.
Not every child can write a brilliant thousand-word essay. Not every child excels at sports. Not every child brings home a report card that should be displayed on the fridge. But look out for these kids! They think out of the box, they change the world and they make us better people.
Live life, laugh often, regret nothing.
The Franks Family
All Donations can be sent to:
Billy Franks Scholarship Fund
c/o SHN, Inc.
4853 Galaxy Parkway, Suite K
Cleveland, OH 44128
“Take chances. Tell the truth. Date someone totally wrong for you. Say no. Spend all your cash. Get to know someone random. Be random. Say I love you. Sing out loud. Laugh at stupid jokes. Cry. Apologize. Tell someone how much they mean to you. Tell a jerk what you think. Laugh til your stomach hurts. Live life. Regret Nothing."