The headline could have read, “Local man who inspired many loses battle with cancer.” But, I don’t think Jeremy Hall did lose his battle, even though he passed away on May 7.

Hall, of Pleasant Grove, was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), a rare form of sarcoma, in December 2016. Since that time, he fought valiantly by living life to the fullest and inspiring hundreds of others to do the same.

“I Choose to Live,” became Hall’s mantra and its meaning was twofold: to fight off cancer with everything he had, and to continue to experience and love life, even while fighting. He shared his message with others in both writing and action.

He used the written word to inspire on social media and on his blog, http://ichoosetolivelife.blogspot.com. Since his diagnosis, hundreds of people began following posts. Some were friends and family; others were strangers who were fighting cancer themselves or enduring other hardships.

His actions spoke even louder. He chose to live each day the best he could, spending quality time with his family, using his camera to tell stories, getting involved in the community, staying active and cycling along the trails of Utah County.

Even before he was diagnosed, Hall had begun choosing to live. He had made some healthy changes in his life and was determined to live better, healthier. This attitude continued with even more resolve when he received the news of cancer.

“I share all of this with one hope; life is precious — and to anyone out there struggling, it is never too late to change to enjoy life better. My cry is to everyone. There is no tomorrow, no next week or when it’s more convenient after a holiday to make life changes,” Hall blogged soon after his diagnosis on Dec. 29, 2016. “Right now is the perfect time amongst all the daily chaos we face to commit to finding our very best selves. As for me — I choose to live.”

Followers of his writing anxiously waited during the times between Hall’s posts. Some of these were positive news. Others weren’t, especially in recent months. But, he continued to inspire by his choice to live.

“I’ve definitely chosen the ‘every day I fight’ attitude from the outset of my diagnosis. It was fitting for me as I coined ‘I Choose to Live’ as my mantra. The fighting spirit was important and I know it has helped through these few years. I haven’t given up that motto and attitude, but I’m reminded of both parts of that phrase. I choose to fight to live as long as possible and with quality of life, but I also choose to live each day with purpose and accept the best I can do. Some days, the best I can do includes several hours of napping with a walk around the neighborhood for exercise. Other days, it’s cycling and much better memories with family being made. They all count for good,” Hall posted on Feb. 18.

We all have battles to fight, whether they be cancer or others. Hall’s words have served as an invitation and a challenge, no matter what is happening to us, to battle through and enjoy life along the way. He did this until he passed away a few days ago.

“Basically, I’m remembering again to choose to live, not just in each day and in the memories we make in everyday life, but also stepping into the dark and continuing to have hope and faith that something good will come along to buy us more precious time and quality of life,” Hall wrote on Feb. 9.

So, Jeremy Hall, my friend, didn’t lose his battle with cancer. He fought bravely and admirably. He led hundreds of us through our own battles with his wise words and example and the legacy he left will continue to lead us through. For Jeremy, let’s ‘Choose to Live.’

To read more about Jeremy Hall and his desire for a bench with bikers’ tools to be built along his favorite trail, go to http://breadgivers.org/JeremyHall.

Laura Giles is a long-time correspondent for the Daily Herald, a community member living in Pleasant Grove and an educator in Alpine School District. She can be contacted at LauraCGiles@gmail.com.