People have often asked me, “Who was Aaron?” – The answer is always the same—He is your best friend, your brother or sister, your parents, your loved ones. He was the one person that I could count on for anything and then….he was gone.
I needed an outlet for my grief, some way to make it through the day now that my “better half” was gone. I decided that maybe I could help myself by helping others. I knew it was going to be the biggest challenge of my life. How would I help them, when I can barely help myself? Would I be strong enough to climb out of the debilitating hole of hopelessness that I retreated to when Aaron died? I decided the only way to truly help other people was to try and serve as an example. If I was able to pick myself up and move forward without sacrificing Aaron’s memory in the process, then maybe, just maybe someone else can too. That is when I decided to share my coping process with the world and capture it on film, in hope that one person, one soul would watch the film and be inspired to pick themselves up and move forward with their life in the face of tragedy.
In the end, For Aaron became much more than just a film about cycling and coping with the loss of a loved one—It became a blueprint for living each day to the fullest and never taking even a second for granted—a journey into the mind of self-discovery, friendship, truth, honesty and the power of love in the face of death.
All proceeds from the film will be donated to the Aaron Klinger Memorial Scholarship Fund at Milton Area Senior High School in Milton, Pennsylvania. Each year a scholarship will be granted in Aaron’s honor to a student going on to pursue a similar career path at a college or university. Recipients of the scholarship will also receive a copy of the film in perpetuity so that they may learn to live each day as Aaron lived…with no regrets.
One night after Aaron passed away I had a dream. Aaron and I sat on the shore of a beach and talked for what seemed like forever about our favorite memories growing up. When we finally finished I said to Aaron, “it seems like we have an entire lifetime of memories.” He laughed and agreed, and then followed with a statement that rings in my ears even now, “Justin, we were only talking for two minutes.” I responded, “It’s crazy how you can live a full life in two minutes.” That is when I realized that life isn’t measured in years—It is measured in memories. I challenge each one of you to LIVE your life to its absolute fullest potential without being scared of tomorrow. Chase dreams you never thought possible, and above all else love and serve one another creating unforgettable memories in the process.
Director + Writer