In 2011, the New Statesman reported on the ‘bucket list’ blog by a terminally ill 15-year-old that became an immediate internet phenomenon. Alice Pyne, the ambitious and determined teen behind the blog, has died after a five year battle with cancer. She suffered from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and passed away with her parents and sister at her bedside on Saturday.
Alice began her blog after being informed that her illness was terminal. She described how the spread of cancer throughout her body was “a pain because there's so much stuff that I still want to do”.
The blog therefore documented her ‘bucket list’; a catalogue of ambitions she intended to achieve before her battle was lost. Her aspirations ranged from everyday activities such as attending her school leavers’ prom and having a nice photo taken with her dog, to meeting Take That, and going whale watching. Most essentially, her goal was to get ‘everyone to join a bone marrow register’.
Alice and her family, from Ulverston in Cumbria, were shocked at the response her first post achieved, with over 2000 comments indicating just how much she had captured the world’s attention. “Oh dear… I thought that I was just doing a little blog for a few friends!” she wrote in her next message.
Her blog has since racked up over 4.5 million views, as readers were invited to follow her struggles and triumphs, witnessing the completion of her bucket list one by one, and hearing about some of the best days of her life.
The teen went on to accomplish more than most: she set up her own charity, Alice’s Escapes, for other young terminally ill children; met the Prime Minister; won a Pride of Britain award; earned a British Empire Medal for services to charity; and inspired thousands to sign up to a Bone Marrow register - all the while keeping the world updated with her refreshing optimism.
In a message on her blog on Saturday, her mother informed her daughter’s followers that “Our darling girl, Alice, gained her angel wings today”, going on to say that the family are “devastated” and “know that our lives will never again be the same”.
In her last post on New Years’ Day, Alice expressed her own surprise at how long she managed to continue fighting her battle, “I'm so excited…because every time I plan something, I always think that I won't be here to see it happen, and then I am”.
For information on becoming a bone marrow donor, visit www.anthonynolan.org