SEATTLE - Eleven-year-old Brenden Foster was laid to rest Saturday afternoon, but not before his dying wish to feed the homeless was fulfilled by many residents of Western Washington and around the nation.
Brenden's family and friends gathered at a private ceremony and said good-bye to the young boy who touched so many hearts with his bravery and compassion.
Brenden's casket is surrounded by flowers during the service.The impact he had during the last few weeks of his life was tremendous.
"If I displayed bravery that this little boy did and the courage, I'll be glad, because this is one brave little man right here," said Jim McMurrow, Brenden's grandfather.
Most people came to know about Brenden's courage and compassion after he told KOMO News reporter Elisa Jaffe about his dying wish to feed the homeless.
That wish sparked volunteers from Seattle and Los Angeles to Ohio and Florida to feed the homeless in Brenden's name. He was too sick to do it himself.
"Brenden was always more interested in helping others and bettering the world than anything he might be going through," his mother, Wendy Foster, wrote in a message to family and friends.
Despite his illness, Brenden wrung every last drop from his life.
"I had a great time," he said not long before his death. "Until my time comes, I'm gonna keep having a great time."
Brenden's time came two weeks ago, when leukemia took the 11-year-old's life after a 3 1/2-year battle with the disease.
Elisa Jaffe said, in memory of the courageous young boy, "I know what it's like to be blessed, and I think Brenden actually blessed so many people around the country and around the world."
At his memorial service, friends and family heard cheerful stories of a little boy, bold in his convictions, wise beyond his age.
Pat McMurrow, Brenden's grandmother, remembers, "He would listen to music not just for the music by the message that was in the music."
"God says, whatever you do for the least of my children you do for me, and he was a child doing that for others," said Wayne Mangan, a friend and leukemia survivor.
Brenden Foster was buried right after Saturday's service. But before his passing, he challenged us to make all of our days meaningful.
He said, "Follow your dreams. Don't let anything stop you."