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

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