Dying Teen's Bucket List Provides Important Reminder for All Parents


Whale watchingMuch like other teenagers, Alice Pyne, 15, likes pop music and junk food, and takes to the web to talk about life. Unlike most, however, Alice is dying.

She has been fighting cancer for four years and is nearing the end of her battle. She recently began a blog, Alice's Bucket List, that outlines what she'd like to do in her remaining time, and she's captured the world's attention and inspired countless others along the way with her optimistic outlook and unassuming wishes. Among the items on her bucket list:

  • To make everyone sign up to be a bone marrow donor
  • To swim with sharks
  • To go to Kenya (I can't travel there now but I wanted to)
  • To enter Mabel in a regional Labrador show
  • To have a photoshoot with Milly, Clarissa, Sammie, and Megs
  • To have a private cinema party for me and my BFFs
  • To design an Emma Bridgewater Mug to sell for charity
  • To stay in a caravan
  • To have a purple Apple iPad but I'm not really allowed to put that on here and mum is trying to borrow one
  • To be a dolphin trainer (I can't do this one either now)
  • To meet Take That
  • To go to Cadbury World and eat loads of chocolate
  • To have a nice picture taken with Mabel
  • To stay in the chocolate room at Alton Towers
  • To have my hair done if they can do anything with it
  • To have a back massage
  • To go whale watching

Fortunately, she's ticking one of the items off her list and she'll be going to see Take That (a British pop group) this weekend. She wrote yesterday:

I am so excited and really can't wait, I just hope that I don't get ill or something daft. I've lived in PJs for about a year so mum is going to town to buy some things to bring back for me to try. She'll bring loads but I'll no doubt end up wearing leggings and a shirt :)

So many of the items on her list are so simple, but it's what's NOT on there that I find most difficult of all. Things like graduate from college, move into her first apartment, fall in love, get married, have a baby -- so many years and so much living that she and all children killed by cancer won't be able to experience.

She isn't focused on those things, however, but rather the present:

Anyway, mum always tells me that life is what we make of it and so I'm going to make the best of what I have and because there were so many things I still wanted to do, mum suggested that I turn my ideas into a bucket list.

I admit when I first started reading her blog, it seemed a bit like a way to score some things she'd like to have for herself, and honestly I wouldn't fault her at all if that's all it was. But it's much more than that, and she's declined monetary donations and gifts for the most part, instead urging people to sign up as bone marrow donors or to support her sister in the Race for Life race in which she's participating. She'd also like followers on her Facebook page and to trend on Twitter (#alicebucketlist).

There isn't a Paypal or Donate button on here, because I didn't mean for this to be such a big thing. It was just so that I could write on here and do the things I wanted to do and my friends could read about it them, which I'm still going to do. It's nice you're all here too but I really don't want any money giving and we've actually been offered so many wonderful experiences that I've definitely got a lot of exciting days ahead.

While she may collect a few gifts along the way (MANY, I hope), the gift she gives those of us who read her story is much greater. She provides such a good reminder that no matter how hard life gets, we still have a life and shouldn't take one moment for granted. As cliched as that previous sentence is, it's so true, and sometimes we need people like Alice to remind us of that.

Do you have a bucket list? What do you think would be on your child's list?

Image via tibchirs/Flickr

inspiring teens, tough topics, health


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Shawndra Martinez

I just asked my 3 yr old "if you could have a SUPER wish... anything you wanted, what special thing would you want or want to do?"  Her answer: "A stick."  Ummmm... a stick?  "Yeah, Mommy.  I could poke things, but NOT people, and make an instrument to play music with it, and throw it like a ball, but it wouldn't roll.  There are so many things you can do with a stick, Mommy."  OK.  I guess I know what she's getting for Christmas.  A stick... really?

Cleesta Cleesta

Such an inspiration for many - God bless hon! :)

Nasca... Nascar9Gal

I sent the link along with a request to Alton Towers hoping they will make her wish come true. Anyone in her area that can call....or as I did leave them a message on their website (altho a bit hard to find a contact link for those out of the country) Maybe they will do this for her! I hope!

nonmember avatar Mamasan

My daughter's wish at the tender age of 2, was very simple.. build a sand castle. We did that in May of 2009 in Florida. We had a few precious months left with her and wanted to do whatever would make her happy. Within weeks of coming back home from our trip she was bed ridden and by July 1 she was gone. I'm glad this young lady gets to do some of the things on her list. Those memories will bring some small comfort to her parents when she's no longer with them. My heart breaks that yet another family will have to watch their child slowly fade away.

DebaLa DebaLa

As even MORE heartbreaking as it is for a child to be terminally ill, it's that much more inspirational for all of us: it's the simple things in life that count, and Alice personifies that.

Alice, I am showing my own 14yo daughter your story, so know you're touching the life of one more "new" friend. Blessings, darlin.'

andie... andiecheyenne

I had to make a bucket list in my psychology class because we watched the movie. I can't remember what's on it, but it was pretty monotonous (sp?) stuff. I think I'll write a new one.



Constance Carter


glowmom5 glowmom5

Mamasan, I'm sorry you lost your precious child.  Today is one year since we lost our darling 6 yo to cancer.  We tried to do many fun things with him before he passed as well, such as go to the beach and Disney and the coolest John Deere tractor show I've ever seen.  It seems so simple, but it really should be about whatever makes someone happy.

nonmember avatar Christine

I have a bucket list. I have all sorts of things on the list from the extreme to the simple. One of the things on my bucket list is to go back to college and get my degree one day. Another is to actually pull out an finish my daughter's baby book. I stopped when she was about 8 months and now she is 5 years! I have stuck all sorts of things for the baby book into an envelope; I just need to get it all sorted out and done!

My daughter at 5 has three big "wishes" right now. She wants to see her great grandma again. She has not seen her in two years. She wants to go to the beach with her cousin. This is happening for her next month although she does not know it yet! Third, she wants to marry a friend of her named Sam. According to her Sam is not her boyfriend she just wants to marry him. When I asked her why she wanted to marry Sam her answer was so sweet and simple~~~~because he is nice to me. :)

Tina Morrill Taillon

I think you are such a beautiful young inspired little 15 year old. I do hope you receive many of your gifts you have asked for. They are simple things, but have so much meaning. I hope you make it through all of your treatments and when it over you live and enjoy life to the fullest. God bless your little heart and soul.

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