Some of you are probably aware of this story already. A little 9 year old boy, Christian Clopp, has been battling a brain tumor for some time now. Most of you know him even though you never met him because his story has played out on Facebook since the little warrior was first diagnosed. A Facebook page called Christian’s Crusaders sprang up and moved quickly to 5000 friends. I happen to know Christian’s father Mark. We came through St. Vincent De Paul catholic elementary school in Mays Landing, NJ together. We also went to the same high-school. Mark went on to be a police officer in Mays Landing, retiring last year. I went on to the military and retired myself in 2010. We reconnected, so to speak, through FaceBook right around the time his son Christian was diagnosed.
I’ve not written anything about the Clopps even though I have felt a strong urge to do so. A lot of reasons for that, but mainly it’s because there was no way to improve on what Mark has been writing. The guy is gifted to say the least, but the sincerity and emotion he writes with about his youngest son could never be replicated or explained. All the old adjectives like courage, heart, bravery, they all pale in comparison to the struggles Christian endured and the way he fought the fight. That became more clear with every post Mark made to the Facebook wall of Christian’s Crusaders. It literally would be impossible to write that kid’s story any better than his father did it. It’s been a privilege to be let in to this family’s journey over the past year or so.
To say Christian lost his battle would not be an apt description. That kids been a winner from day one of this thing. His victories over his disease are too numerous to count. The inspiration he provided us as we read, sometimes daily, how Christian defied not only the odds, but the experts, is impossible to quantify. The display of faith by Mark and his family, again laid bare for all of us to see, is reaffirming, the evidence of the power of prayer by thousands of strangers; redeeming in some way. This kid changed lives, he drew people together. Some of my friends, who never have and probably never will meet the Clopps, would all of a sudden have a picture of Christian as their Facebook profile and post prayers to his FaceBook page. Again, inspiring is not even close to what Christian has meant to a lot of us.
Today I read a headline asking the question, Should flags be at half staff for Whitney Houston, and I just shake my head. Then I read about Christian, look back over the posts his father put on the Facebook wall and I believe that while ridiculousness rules the headlines, deep faith, abiding love, and an unending hope rules the heart of a 9 year old and his family.
As we are saying goodbye to Christian, God is saying Welcome Home Good and Faithful Servant.
Christian Thomas Clopp
August 15, 2002 – February 15, 2012 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” 2Timothy 4:7
Well said little brother xoxo Mare
He certainly touched my life! What a strong boy and family!
It truly has been amazing to see strength in action, both by Christian and his family.
Very well written Fran! And all so true!
Well said Fran! Thanks for posting! So, so, true.
Such a sincere, heartfelt post from a lifelong, dear friend. Thank you so much, Fran for following Mark’s Facebook postings and for your prayers along the way. The Christian’s Crusaders followers will never know how much their love and support have meant to our family. You’re a good friend.
Thanks for kind words Teresa. I mentioned to Mark that is just kind of sprang from the keyboard. I’m glad y’all liked it.
Perfectly put! While I have written blog posts in the past on my own blog (promisedpositivity.blogspot.com) about Christian, I am hesitant to write the one that will come next. To say that writing my facebook status, updating all of my own friends who had become prayer warriors for Christian over the last year was difficult would be an understatement of epic proportions. It was the status that I never wanted to write. It was knowing that the pain I was feeling right then would be instantly felt by so many others. The amazing way in which Christian and his story touched the lives of so many was indescribable. Mark’s ability to put into words the daily struggles and triumphs of the bravest little boy I have ever met, captured the hearts of so many who have never met them. The struggle I had in writing that status last night opened my eyes to how difficult it must have been to put the days events into words for a father who was writing about his own son. I am ever grateful to both Mark and Joanie for their sharing of their personal family information that so many of us looked for on a daily basis. As brave as they are, it is no wonder that they raised two wonderfully brave young boys. Thank you Clopp family, for sharing the AMAZING MR. C with us! I am sure that everyone will agree that, because of Christian and his example, we will never be the same. We will be stronger, braver, more compassionate and mindful to never take a single moment with our loved ones for granted! ❤
Perfectly put – you captured exactly what I’ve wanted to say, but couldn’t find the words. Thank you.
I as well grew up with Mark, went to St. Vincent Elementary, Oakcrest, and rode the school bus with him. I also reconnected with Mark on FB. I have been following his every step through this journey with Christian. I havent seen Mark in years, but he is an amazing father. I have faith, and I know in my heart God had a grander plan for Christian. Christian has inspired and given faith, and strength to people all over the world. He touched alot of hearts. My heart and prayers go out to the Clopp family. This is an amazing page and will touch alot of people. xo
Thanks Rose Mary.
Incredibly well written!!!! I have never met Christian or his family but have been following his journey for quite some time and he has truly changed my life. When I ended up in the hospital with my daughter for some minor illness, thinking of Christian and his family and the strength and faith that they hold in their hearts is what got me through those troubling times for my family. I continue to pray for the Clopp family. They are an incredible bunch and Mark is one special man!!
Thanks. I agree they are an incredible bunch.
Well said and written. Christian was truly an inspiration to us all and he will not stop he will now be an angel to us all. Rest in peace Christian.
I think it’s horrible that god felt the need to use the pain, suffering and ultimate death of a little boy to help bring people together. I would hope that an all powerful being would be able to come up with a better way to bring us closer, than the torturous means of a brain tumor in a defensless young child. I know that god works in mysterious ways. I just wish his ways were more humane as opposed to imperial.
I’m not sure what you mean by “humane as opposed to imperial”. God didn’t spare his own son the pain and suffering of death, why would we be any different.
I think the message Christian and his family have relayed to all of us through this journey is that the time God has granted us on this earth is precious and we should treasure every second.
We will all die, but if we live constantly reaching for God, how we die becomes irrelevant. I believe the grace that Christian and his family have shown in meeting Christian’s earthly end is an example to us all.
“We will all die, but if we live constantly reaching for God, how we die becomes irrelevant.” <~~ Right on, Frank! This is exactly right. I am in awe of the grace that has been displayed by the entire Clopp family! ❤
When we were notified of Christian’s diagnosis, it was the most devastating news that could have been delivered. We asked the questions of why? and why him of all people and why not some self destructive individual who has chosen to take their God-given talents and throw them in the trash? We quickly came to the realization that we needed to focus and keep our family unit strong because we refused to spend the rest of Christian’s life and ours in a miserable, depressed state. The answers to our questions will never be answered until we one day meet God face to face. We must realize this, though: We are inferior to God and his will is too complex to process with a human brain. That is where faith comes in. I put my trust in God that he knows what is best for Christian and the rest of my family. I know Christian is fine; it is the rest of us I worry about. Life on earth is a very short time. Christian taught me not to spend it angry, depressed or sad. Enjoy it to the best of your ability and invest in your future, which is eternity.
Mark Clopp Sr.
I am so very sad still and it is not because of Christian anymore..I know he is in heaven and very happy. I am at a loss for words to his brother, Parents and family…I know had much pain I feel inside and it must fade in comparison to theirs. I understand and have never questioned Gods will and that always gave me comfort as I am sure it has Joan and Mark and Mark Jr. My wish is that the Clopp family never suffer another tradedy and live the rest of their life enjoying their son Mark Jr. May the sweet memories of Christian give them peace and healing…He has been an inspiration, miracle and a million things rolled into one. Rest in Peace………..
You are a better person than I am. I question God’s will almost daily. At the end of the day though, I realize it’s still His will.
It’s unrealistic to wish the Clopps or anyone else will not suffer more tragedy or heartache. I take heart, and I hope you do as well, in the grace they have displayed in dealing with this situation. In the military we always used to say the measure of a person is how they deal with the unforeseen event.
The Clopps have been measured and found to be exceptional.
Thank you for sharing what I have felt as well!
My pleasure Amy.
Very well written.
I think we should have the flag flown at half staff in honor of Christian!!! He is/was everything and more in the 9 1/2 years he was here. May his life story continue to live on and bring hope, faith, peace and love to all.
He is truly one of God’s angels now and has his grandparents there with him to watch over his family.
BeAuTiFuL!!!!!! nothing more… This little angel with be forever in my heart!!!!!
I agree with you. Very well written. Christian is a hero to all
just saw a link to your blog on Patty Phy’s daughters fb page (who btw is with the 177th) you are going viral!
Not sure what to say really. Is “going viral” good?
that’s what they say about popular youtube videos….so yay that is good.
[…] Christian Clopp: A Profile and Linda Claire First a little boy named Christian Clopp proved it really is the size of the heart that matters and then was called home. Then our little Linda Claire gave us five short hours before she was called home. I’ve spent more time thinking about those five hours than I’d hope too. These were the only two posts that hit the four digit mark as far as views. Heart warming really. A lot of people weighed in to offer prayers, condolences, and well wishes. I can’t speak for Christian’s father Mark, but trust me, it helped me a lot. […]