Courageous teenager Alice Pyne of Ulverston, England, has written a “bucket list” of things she wants to do before she dies of cancer.
The 15-year-old pupil at Barrow’s Chet-wynde School has been fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma – cancer of the white blood cells – for four years. She has undergone extensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments and has also received a stem cell transplant where her own treated cells were used, but treatment was not effective. Last year more than 1,000 people signed up to see if they could donate bone marrow to Alice, along with help from the Anthony Nolan Trust, but in October a scan showed there were no more curative treatment options and her condition was diagnosed as terminal.
Alice, who describes her occupation as “full-time cancer fighter”, refused to be downhearted and started her blog Alice’s Bucket List to share her list of things she is trying to get done before she goes.
Even though she’s dying with maybe only weeks to live, she hasn’t given up. She says she wants to make the best of what she has.
Her bucket list includes swimming with sharks, meeting Take That, whale watching, entering her dog Mabel in a show and visiting Cadbury World to eat “loads of chocolate”.
Her inspiration to create her bucket list came from the 2008 movie The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman who play terminally-ill patients who go on a road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket”.
Her blog continued: “I’ve not quite finished the list yet. I keep remembering other bits, so I might add things to it as I go along.
“I’m not expecting to do everything on it. Some of the things are just not going to happen because I can’t even leave the country now. But they’re there because they were on my ‘to do’ list at some point.”
One of those things on her bucket list is to become a trending topic on Twitter. Well, she has achieved that way beyond her wildest dream.
With the simple hashtag #alicebucketlist, she’s rising to the top of Twitter, trending Worldwide. It all started with a few Tweets from prominent Twitter users like Terry Moran from ABC News and actor Channing Tatum, urging people to make Pyne’s day. And with that, Twitter exploded, sending a torrent of well-wishes and love to Pyne who writes on her blog, “I’ve been fighting cancer for almost 4 years now and I know the cancer is gaining on me and it doesn’t look like I’m going to win this one. The cancer is spreading through my body. It’s hard because I gave it my all. And it’s a pain because there’s so much stuff I still want to do. Anyway, Mum always tells me that life is what we make of it.”
Parents Vicky and Simon, 48, a project manager, have embarked on a string of fundraising events with daughter Milly to raise money for charity since Alice was diagnosed.
Vicky, 42, said: “Sometimes I see kids walking down the street, and I think, ‘It isn’t fair, she should be out there with them’ – but she never complains.”
Among Alice’s hopes is for everyone to sign up to be a bone marrow donor.
Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock took up her cause during Prime Minister’s Question Time in Parliament.
Mr Woodcock told David Cameron: “After four years, 15-year-old Alice Pyne in my constituency is losing her battle against cancer.
“At the top of the list is a call to make everyone sign up to be a bone marrow donor, so will he work with the leader of the opposition and I to address why too few people are currently on this life-saving register?”
Mr Cameron responded by saying: “I will certainly do that and I am sorry to hear about the situation facing Alice and what she’s going through, and our thoughts go out to her and her family.
“We do want to get as many people as possible on to the register.”
Take That’s manager is in discussion with Alice’s parents Vicky and Simon Pyne after being inundated with requests on behalf of the teenager.
Alice, believed to be at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, said that the torrent of comments to her blog this week has kept her up at night, staying up to read every single comment that flooded in from all over the planet, and they have made her smile. She also replied to hundreds of fans on her blog site.
“I’m excited about the things I am going to be doing, but the biggest thing has to be all the people who are joining bone marrow donation schemes because of me.
“I will take a camera with me wherever I go and post photos of everything I do.”
Well-wishers from the USA, Canada and the UK sent her story in a relay which generated more than 2,000 pledges of help. Beauty salons from Barrow and fashion designers from London have offered massages and hotel trips while an international community from New York to Berlin rallied round to organise sending iPads and music vouchers to be sent from abroad.
Thousands praised Alice for her optimistic outlook.
Celebrities have lined up to support her cause on Twitter, including pop star Katy Perry, comedian Dara O’Briain, comedian Bill Bailey, former footballer Robbie Savage and TV presenters Phillip Schofield, Stephen Fry, Richard Madeley and Fearne Cotton.
The remarkable thing about her blog is that she is not asking for donations or money; she wants ALL people to register to become bone marrow donors. What an amazing goal for a young girl, and one the Prime Minister endorses.
ALICE’S TO DO LIST SO FAR
To swim with sharks
To make everyone sign up to be a bone marrow donor
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 photo shoot 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
Alice lives with younger sister Milly and parents Vicky and Simon. She and her family have campaigned tirelessly to increase the number of people registered as bone marrow donors and Alice derives a great deal of comfort from the fact that she has, in all likelihood, been instrumental in helping to find donors for other people with life threatening conditions.
Alice says she’s excited about crossing items off her bucket list, and hopes to take pictures and blog about her experiences. But most of all, she’s glad people are joining bone marrow donation schemes because of her.
Alice’s courage and compassion is a benchmark for us all.
On her blog, Pyne asks, “If today was your last day on earth, how would you spend it?” Seriously think about it.