Laurence Carolin's memory lives on through Make-a-Wish Foundation

For those who knew him, Laurence Carolin was someone who put others before himself at all times.  He cared for people, helped others and cheered people up on daily basis.

Carolin died in January 2010 at the age of 15 from a brain tumor which developed in the center of his brain.  When his doctors told him that he didn’t have much time left, however, he didn’t fear death. His attitude was that if it was time to die, it was time to die.

“Some people die sooner than others,” he said at the time.

Accepting death is one of life’s biggest challenges.  Fighting for life is another.  Regardless, Carolin didn’t let his brain tumor stop him from staying positive.

He was offered a wish from the Make-A-Wish foundation and said that he’d like to meet Bono from the band U2. Carolin credited the band’s lyrics as with helping to raise his spirits and keep him positive about his situation.

Make-A-Wish said that they were unable to make the arrangement so Carolin then said that he wanted the $5,000 that was going towards his wish to go towards the UN Foundation.  This act of selflessness is how we should remember him.  He has helped raise over $20,000 dollars in donations to the UN Foundation.

He was truly a one-of-a kind kid.  He is not the average Joe who would just cruise through the day and do everything for himself.  Carolin went out of his way to support and care for the people in his life.  For him it was a priority, not just a side gig.  Carolin is respected because of actions like these.

And one of his most important legacies is Airplane Day, so named because it was the day when the adopted Carolin flew into the United States from South Korea.  Today, the Carolin family still celebrate Airplane Day.  They get together to remember how great the day was and its importance.  They give gifts to each other share stories related to Laurence.

This year’s Airplane Day is going to be celebrated at Foggy Bottom as an awareness/fundraiser/music festival on Saturday, Feb. 22 from 6-10 p.m.  Admission is free, but donations to the United Nations Foundations will be accepted at the door.

If you can’t make it to the celebration, please consider donating to the UN Foundation online at

Laurence Carolin inspired more people than I can count.  His strength and fight are what kept him moving forward.  We should follow his example.  We should put others before ourselves and pay it forward.