Pfafftown, NC -- Nick Doub ran his race to the fullest.
"He had a sense of childlike wonder about things," said his father Mitchell Doub.
His mom remembers when he went door-to-door selling apples for a school fundraiser. He spent half an hour getting to know each neighbor.
Carla Doub said, "We kind of called it Nick's fruit ministry."
Hard to believe this was the same young man, once shy, his speech hard to understand. Diagnosed with autism, attention deficit disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, all before his second birthday - none of it mattered.
"He just had a really big heart, a very loving heart," said Carla.
Mitchell said, "When he got to school he was the head of the parade. He was everybody's light of the day."
By his 18th birthday, Nick was a senior at Reagan High School and an honor student.
"I said what do you want to be? What do you want to do with your life? And one of the first things he said was 'I want to be a good person,'" said Mitchell.
SLIDESHOW: Remembering Nick Doub
In January, the wide-eyed teenager who enjoyed mission trips and music, wanted to see the world, even join the Navy, met a destiny he didn't deserve.
It would have been a routine morning trip to school except for a sudden change in the weather. In a matter of minutes, the temperature tumbled, from 34 to 30 degrees. Had Nick come down this road an hour earlier the ice wouldn't have been there.
Instead, a twist of fate sent his SUV over a thin sheet of black ice. His red Chevy Blazer skidded out of control, flipped over a 10-foot ravine and smashed into a tree. He was driving 15 miles under the speed limit, with his seat belt securely fastened, his school right around the corner.
Airlifted to the hospital, Nick spent days in intensive care with a severe brain injury.
His classmates at Reagan High School prayed. Three days later, Nick died.
"I miss his hugs and I just miss his big smile and his voice," said Carla. "I just, you know, I miss everything about him."
Mitchell said, "I was somewhat at peace knowing we had had four or five days to sit with him and hold his hand, which is something we did not have in 1991."
Nicholas has an older brother that died in 1991.
Jeremy was not even two-years-old, when he died suddenly. Doctors still have no explanation.
"I whispered to Nick while he still had some brain activity. I said Nick, when the time comes, go find Jeremy. Y'all play together," said Mitchell.
Finding a shred of hope, Mitchell and Carla inch forward.
"You ask how we hang on. I know I'm going to see him again," Carla said, crying.
Nick showed them it doesn't matter where you finish. It only matters how you run.
"I think that what Nick's life on earth meant and what it can teach all of us is if you love somebody look them in the eye and tell them that," Mitchell said.
"You know, they would have chosen to live. But they weren't given that choice. So I don't have a choice either. I have to live. Because that's what they would've chosen," said Carla.