Quiet Will

Live Oak, Florida. Population 6,843. A tiny town in north central Florida, the county seat of Suwannee County. There are oaks everywhere, hence the name. Each limb is drapes in Spanish moss, which, ironically, is neither.

Meet Quiet Will Carpenter. He’s a soft spoken kid. He doesn’t talk much. He is your all-American college kid. Honey brown hair. Honest smile.

Last year, he was a freshman at the University of Central Florida. A fierce swimmer, a competitive fisherman on the UCF Bass team. Will is also a football fanatic and pulls for the Jacksonville Jaguars—but hey nobody’s perfect.

He was studying mechanical engineering. A sharp kid like Will is talented enough to be designing space probes for NASA. Classic overachiever. This kid is going places.

He doesn’t talk much, but he’s the genuine article.

Last year, on Christmas Eve, Will had a sinus infection. No big deal. His lymph nodes were pretty swollen so his mother took him to the hospital. They were on the way to Christmas dinner with family when they made the detour to the emergency room.

The doctor looked him over. It was no run-of-the-mill sinus infection. It was worse. Much worse. They never made it to Christmas dinner.

Within days, Will had already left school and began hardcore treatment. The mild mannered fisherman was subjected to the systenatic that is American Healthcare. He underwent all the usual oncology stuff. He was exposed to chemo, meds, and obscene amounts of daytime television.

His family survived on vending machine food. Slept in waiting rooms. Waited on test results. They cried. They prayed for miracles. Doctors ran more tests.

Will received radiation treatment on his face, spine and shoulder. He was administered every drug you’ve ever heard of, and many you haven’t. And recently, he was fitted with a gastronomy tube, simply so he can eat.

To say this past year has been “hard” is like saying World War II was a minor disagreement. This last year has been absolute perdition.

His affliction is called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. It is aggressive. It is a rare cancer, especially among kids. About 3 percent of childhood cancers are alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS).

In medical-speak: ARMS is a small, round, blue cell tumor in skeletal muscle tissue, and it is thought to originate from mesenchymal cells. In layman’s terms: this stuff is bad news.

Meanwhile, Quiet Will has been taking each blow on the chin, without complaints. He’s been suffering bravely. He barely makes a peep. He’s remained lighthearted. Upbeat. Humorous even.

Will’s aunt says this of her nephew:

“Through it all, Will has been positive, funny and he even chastised us when we dared to ask why God did this to one of our children.”

Recently, Will’s family received another crushing blow.

His medical team said his cancer was deemed “chemo-treatment resistant.” The cancer is spreading through his bones and connective tissue.

Unsurprisingly, this quiet kid is remarkably positive. He is not throwing any pity parties. He is not feeling sorry for himself. Neither is he giving up. He is still fighting like heck.

There is, however, one request Will’s family has. And this is why I am writing to you.

Will’s aunt says: “Will told me not long ago that one of his biggest regrets is not talking more when he was healthy, to meet new people, and get to know people better.”

I aim to change this.

Although you and I are strangers, I feel like we’re friends. And friends do stuff together. So if you have spare time, you can join me in sending a note to: Quiet Will, PO Box 835 Live Oak, Florida, 32064.

Your letter doesn’t have to be well written. We’re not looking for Bill Shakespeare here. Just remind Will that he’s special. Tell him you’re praying. Share a funny story. Draw a picture. Write a poem. Tell a joke.

If you’re unsure about what to say in your letter, just remind our quiet hero that miracles do happen. Every single day, in fact. We know for certain that miracles occur.

Because Will Carpenter is one.

53 comments

  1. Tim - January 3, 2023 7:31 am

    Where there is a Will, there is a way.
    “William” is just another way to express some Old Testament / New Testament identification…
    “I am that I am”.
    I am “Will-i-am”.
    Willy,
    Billy,
    Liam,
    Take your pick.
    Versatile name.
    “I Am” routing for you.
    (but have always been more of a Miami Dolphins fan. Although the Jaguars have been fun to watch this season (of hope).
    There is Hope (& Faith) in every season in life.

    Reply
  2. 🇿🇦Norma Den - January 3, 2023 8:17 am

    Sean please pass on to Will. I can’t contact from South Africa. Will I’m praying for you & I thank God for the wonderful positive attitude you have. God bless you & May the miracle HE has in store for you be worth the waiting, pain & trauma. Much love from far away .South Africa.

    Reply
    • Anne Arthur - January 3, 2023 12:24 pm

      I am in Haiti and the mail service here is rather non-existent. Sean, please transmit to Will that I lift him up with prayer, asking God for his miracles. Dear WILL, hold on, keep going, you’ve got this, and God has you in his good care.

      Reply
  3. Ernie in River City - January 3, 2023 11:39 am

    Gonna share this. And drop Quiet Will a card. Thanks for lifting him up.

    Reply
  4. John lewis - January 3, 2023 11:46 am

    Just let Sean know that even during the worst of storms Jesus is with us if we believe, stay positive an know that we are praying for you

    Reply
  5. Chalmer Miller's Granddaughter - January 3, 2023 12:21 pm

    I am going to be sending Will a card with a note of encouragement plus a check for him to do with as he pleases. Thank you for writing about his struggle so that we can all rally around him to help lift him up to continue fighting another day. He sounds like he could be anyone’s son/daughter in America. Will seems like a wonderful young person who I would enjoy sitting down and talking to about life and what makes him smile. God Bless Will, his family, you, Jamie, and United States of America. Please keep us updated on his life! Sean, thank you so much for all you do!!!

    Reply
  6. Rick - January 3, 2023 12:27 pm

    Note to Quiet Will done. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
    Welcome to B’ham.

    Reply
  7. Cheryll Woods-Flowers - January 3, 2023 12:29 pm

    Consider it done!

    Reply
  8. Beth Wannamaker - January 3, 2023 12:36 pm

    There is a young man – also a teenager – in the Cameron, SC area who went into the hospital for sinus surgery and has also been almost on life support since the surgery. His name is Rock Lyons and he is about 17 years old. I’m not sure they know what is wrong with him, but he is also very upbeat and is taking all of this the best way he can. I am adding Will to my prayer list and hope others will add Rock to theirs. Rock has been in the hospital for at least a month now.

    Reply
    • Kelly Ostergren - January 4, 2023 4:31 am

      Praying for Rock.

      Reply
    • Julia - January 5, 2023 3:04 pm

      Is there an address to write to Rock? Thanks Beth

      Reply
    • Susan Holland - January 17, 2023 8:27 pm

      Can you share Ricks address for cards please ?!?

      Reply
  9. Beth Wannamaker - January 3, 2023 12:41 pm

    My apologies! Rock’s last name is Riser (his grandfather’s last name is Lyons). c

    Reply
  10. LaVerne Rikard - January 3, 2023 12:46 pm

    Prayers for healing for this remarkable young man. Prayers for strength for his family and friends .

    .

    Reply
  11. Susan - January 3, 2023 1:01 pm

    Thank you for making us aware, Sean. A card will be in the mail today!

    Reply
  12. Megan Brewer - January 3, 2023 1:21 pm

    Bless you for connecting us with Will. He’s gonna need a bigger boat!

    Reply
  13. Gigi22 - January 3, 2023 1:27 pm

    Praying for Will and his family🙏♥️ Sending a card today!

    Reply
  14. Paula - January 3, 2023 1:54 pm

    Thanks Sean.

    Reply
  15. BRENDA DAVIS - January 3, 2023 2:07 pm

    SUCH A BEAUTIFUL WAY TO HONOR WILL. GOD, ONLY KNOW WHY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE OR WHY GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO BAD PEOPLE. IT’S PART OF THE PLAN. GOD BLESS YOU SEAN .

    Reply
  16. Christine - January 3, 2023 2:15 pm

    Your last name immediately brought to mind that Jesus was a Carpenter and he’s your healer and brother. Many prayers for brave and strong Will.

    Reply
  17. Debbie Taylor - January 3, 2023 2:35 pm

    I’ll be putting a letter to Quiet Will in the mail this week! And he will be in my prayers 🙏

    Reply
  18. David - January 3, 2023 2:41 pm

    God bless you Will! May He give you the miracle your need. Sounds like you have touched a lot of lives already. Praying for you

    Reply
  19. Wanda - January 3, 2023 3:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing the story of Quiet Will. I will be praying for him and his family. Will be sending a card today.

    Reply
  20. Stacey Wallace - January 3, 2023 3:19 pm

    Praying for Will. Thanks, Sean. Love to you, Jamie, Marigold, Otis Campbell, and Thelma Lou.

    Reply
  21. sjhl7 - January 3, 2023 3:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Writing a note and praying hard for Quiet Will.

    Reply
  22. Sandra Jones - January 3, 2023 3:51 pm

    My first note is on its way. There will be more. There will be lots of praying going on daily for Will. I will share this with others.

    Reply
  23. Judy C Adams - January 3, 2023 4:05 pm

    Thank you so much for doing this. I wrote. Ive asked lots of people to write. I hope hes lifted up. You always manage to make me cry. Im from live oak.

    Reply
  24. Peggy M. Windham - January 3, 2023 4:20 pm

    I’m going to write Will today and pray for his healing. Thanks for sharing his story.

    Reply
  25. Cathy M - January 3, 2023 4:53 pm

    Thank you Sean for giving us the opportunity to express love and encouragement to this wonderful young man. God bless all and God can do anything❤️🙏🏻

    Reply
  26. Debbie Roberts - January 3, 2023 5:12 pm

    I’m doing this right now. Thanks for sharing the opportunity to pray for and encourage Will

    Reply
  27. Lora Gowins - January 3, 2023 5:35 pm

    Thank you for this story, Sean, and all of your other stories. I will def send Quiet Will a card.

    Reply
  28. Patricia Gibson - January 3, 2023 5:44 pm

    Done! God bless Will🙏

    Reply
  29. Sandra - January 3, 2023 5:54 pm

    Prayers for Will. ♥️🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

    Reply
  30. Michael - January 3, 2023 6:38 pm

    Done

    Reply
  31. Gayle - January 3, 2023 6:47 pm

    Sean, thank you for your outreach. We are better people because you make us aware of situations without sensationalizing or speculation. You report the facts in a compassionate, caring way. You are a miracle for Quiet Will.

    Reply
  32. Sue Leloia - January 3, 2023 8:08 pm

    We were Will’s family for 3 years with our son…a different and equally heinous form of brain cancer…that he fought with incredible humor, fierceness and bravery. We called him our WARRIOR and still do, although he lost his fight. I am writing to Quiet, Brave, Amazing Will today and adding him to my nightly prayers. The greatest compliment I can offer him is that he sounds just like my amazing son.

    Reply
  33. William H. Glover - January 3, 2023 9:20 pm

    My son, who was also named Will, died last year of brain cancer. I am comforted because I know thar he is in Heaven and I asked thr Lord to tell him hello every day.

    Reply
  34. Carol Pilmer - January 3, 2023 9:39 pm

    WOW AND DOUBLE WOW!!! Thanks for the introduction to Will…sounds like the son any parent would want…Card created and sent…volunteered to be his extra long-distance GMa… Thank you for sharing your thoughts and very special introductions…

    Reply
  35. Linda Moon - January 3, 2023 10:10 pm

    A trip to the E.R. led to the unexpected discovery of my most recent cancer. My eyes wouldn’t let me write when I first met Will Carpenter from your words, Sean. Tears were in the way. Having cancer is not easy, but we who’ve had it don’t give up, and I’ll write a letter to Will and tell him there is Hope!

    And, please, let’s all pray that there will soon be more cures for cancers.

    Reply
  36. Julia - January 4, 2023 1:41 am

    Thank you Sean. We will be writing to Will & mailing out tomorrow-

    Reply
  37. Mark Wyrick - January 4, 2023 3:40 am

    The one thing I’ve come to believe and understand is there are no “coincidences”. It was certainly no coincidence in my reading your post on FB tonight and then being led to this website and your article about Quiet Will.
    I will be sending a note to Quiet Will. Not sure what I will say, but my hope will be that my note will be as inspiring as your story about Quiet Will.
    I have been praying to find a way to make a difference in this world, and the lives of others, maybe this can be a beginning for this 70 year old. It is long overdue, but I hope not too late.

    Reply
    • Kim Morris Ladoczky - January 4, 2023 3:45 pm

      My note & a small painting will go out in the next few days. Thank you sharing this story…

      Reply
  38. Kelly Ostergren - January 4, 2023 4:30 am

    Thanks for letting us be a part of this gift to Quiet Will, Sean. Mailed a letter with an origami heart and note inside.

    Reply
  39. Christy Henderson - January 4, 2023 12:05 pm

    Please keep us updated! Note sent.

    Reply
  40. Patricia - January 4, 2023 2:43 pm

    I will write a letter soon…Thanks for sharing Will’s story. I feel like I kow him already! Praying for him an his family!

    Reply
  41. Pam - January 4, 2023 4:02 pm

    Sean, I sent Will a note yesterday. Thank you for reminding me that my troubles are not insurmountable and that others need encouragement. Pam

    Reply
  42. Susan M Murphy - January 4, 2023 6:55 pm

    Will, you are in my prayers! That is easy to say but miracles do happen. My husband is very sick and is in the hospital so I will pray for you and him.

    Reply
  43. Brenda S French - January 4, 2023 7:46 pm

    This is something I can do. I am on it. Thanks for reaching out. I am a retired nurse and sometimes it is the smallest gesture that makes the biggest difference in a life. See you at the Opry.

    Reply
  44. Bob Green - January 4, 2023 8:01 pm

    How incredible is this story. Will is the way he is because he chooses to walk with Christ. All things are possible with Christ.

    Reply
  45. Charlotte Lea - January 4, 2023 9:45 pm

    I mailed his card yesterday. Thank you for sharing Will’s story.

    Reply
  46. Joya Taylor - January 5, 2023 3:47 am

    This is awesome, Sean. I mailed my first letter today to this wonderful young man. And yes, I know miracles still happen today because I am close friends with a miracle working God.
    Love to you and your darling Jamie.

    Reply
  47. Ruth - January 5, 2023 3:35 pm

    I believe that too. Sent my card signed a friend of Sean Dietrich. Blessings to your family and thanks for making us aware.

    Reply
  48. Sue Sims - January 6, 2023 7:28 pm

    I will send Will a card and keep him in my prayers!

    Sean, do you have Live Oak connections?

    Reply

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