Ben Breedlove’s story lives on with book written by sister Ally Breedlove

Joyful, loving and a prankster. These are the words Ally Breedlove selectively chose to best describe her brother, and former Westlake senior, Ben Breedlove. Being siblings that were only a year apart, Ally and Ben were inseparable. Ally can remember when she first met Ben in the hospital. She touched his nose and immediately recoiled in tears because she was afraid he would bite her. Ben’s crucial role in Ally’s life inspired her to share his story through her perspective. Approximately a year and a half ago, Ally began to write When Will the Heaven Begin?.

“After the video went viral, my family was approached by publishers who wanted the story,” Breedlove said. “After a few months of consideration, my family decided that a book could bring the same inspiration from the video to an entirely different audience.”

Ben was always telling stories. He thoroughly enjoyed making light-hearted films with his friends and fellow classmates with subjects that would be uplifting and entertaining to his targeted teen audience. Ben and his friend Justin Miller created the YouTube channel OurAdvice4You. This channel, as the name implies, revolved around the idea of Ben and Justin giving their personal advice on relationships and school based on their own experience. Ben told his story visually through YouTube videos that would bring in millions of viewers and inspire others. Ally, on the other hand, would write from 9-5 every night for an entire year in hopes of sharing Ben’s story up until the day he passed away.

On May 23, 2011 Ben created a solo YouTube Channel titled BreedloveTV. On this channel Ben made videos with the same idea as the previous YouTube channel. On Dec.10 at 3:45 pm, Ben posted This is My Story: Part I and II on YouTube. In this video, Ben goes into personal details on his rare heart condition professionally known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM).

When Will the Heaven Begin? chronologically presents the events from the 18 years of Ben’s life. Ally wrote, with assistance from author Ken Abraham, about how Ben’s life was more than just living. Ben did more than just let the days pass by him while he struggled with a heart condition that landed him with several doctors appointments and missing out on all the contact sports his friends were involved in. Despite his illness, Ben always found the positive side to any situation. Ben great characteristic’s created an inspiration for Ally’s writing.

“The first draft only took about three months to write,” Breedlove said. “The editing and evolution of the story took about another nine months. I could have written Ben’s story for the rest of my life and never finished.

Many celebrities were leaving condolences for Ben’s family and close friends. Kim Kardashian tweeted, four days after Ben’s death, the link to This is My Story: Part I. “Don’t take life 4 granted,” K said. “Ben- I hope you find that peace u remember in heaven.” Other celebrities tweeted similar messages with links sharing the video that has now reached more than 8 million views.

Scott Mescudi, known by his stage name Kid Cudi, was Ben’s favorite rapper. Ben, a huge fan of Cudi, mentioned him in his video. After many fans tweeted Mescudi links to Ben’s video, he stated in a Tumblr blog-post that he “was touched by [Ben’s] story.” Mescudi gave many thanks to Ben for always being a wonderful fan and also touched the subject of a very intimate part of his life within this condolence. He wrote “I wasn’t happy with myself. Ben’s message snapped me out of it. He saved me. Not drugs, not liquor, Ben.”

Mescudi’s message is printed on the very first page of When Will the Heaven Begin?. Mescudi refers to Ben as “his brother” towards the end of his story right above the byline and also commonly refers to the Breedlove family as “his Breedloves.” Mescudi and the Breedloves have formed a special bond that creates a close-knit relationship with both a love for music and love for Ben.

Ally greatly values the support and praise she has received from family and friends that are close to her. Complete strangers have sent Ally numerous Facebook messages and emails. Ally finds these messages and emails, whether they are from a reality television series or someone in a smaller position, to be the most cherishable.

“I have been most moved by the support I have received from total strangers,” Breedlove said. “Ever since Christmas day of 2011, I have received hundreds of Facebook messages from people all over the world reaching out, sharing their stories, and offering their love and encouragement.”

Starting the same week the book was published, Ally was doing press conferences and interviews. She traveled across the country for interviews with CBS Sunday Morning, The 700 Club, The Today Show, The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson, Glenn Beck, Fox & Friends, People Magazine and USA Today.

“Being in a plane for days on end was very exhausting at times,” Breedlove said. “I had to keep in mind that all this work was for Ben. If his story was meant to travel across the country then I would do everything I could to share his story.”

Ben’s joy and love for life is very present in When Will the Heaven Begin?. Through writing and reminiscing in memories, Ally has found qualities within herself that would make her life as impactful as her brother’s.

“Having faith that Ben is more alive now than he has ever been is the only way I am able to live without him,” Breedlove said. “Because of Ben, I have learned to love making those intimate, personal connections with my interviewers and sometimes even with the camera men or producers. In life we need to remember that every person we encounter, whether it be a co-worker, a cashier at the store, or a random stranger, has the same questions, needs, and desires in life that we do. Every opportunity we have to connect with another person is more valuable than we might ever know.”