courage doesn’t always roar

photo courtesy of Alice's Bucket List (http://alicepyne.blogspot.com/)

Alice is 15. She’s always wanted to meet the musical group Take That. She lives in Ulverston, Cumbria in the United Kingdom. She has a sister named Milly and a dog named Mabel. She wants to be a dolphin trainer. She wants to go whale watching. She has terminal cancer.

Alice knows the outlook isn’t good, so she made a bucket list and started a blog for her friends and family to keep up with. That was Monday. By Thursday she has more than 6,000 blog subscribers and hundreds of thousands of page views.

Her requests are simple: she wants to trend on Twitter (which she did, yesterday afternoon), she wants to have a back massage, to  stay in the chocolate room at Alton Towers, to have a private cinema party for her and her “BFF’s”, to enter Mabel in a regional Labrador retriever show, to go to Cadbury World and eat loads of chocolate, to make everyone sign up to be a bone marrow donor.

She isn’t asking for money — she adamantly refuses any donations unless you want to donate to her sister Milly’s Race for Life page. She simply wants to cross off the items on her list.

Shakespeare wrote that we should “fight till the last gasp.” But should we fight? Or should be sit back and enjoy every second until our last gasp? That, of course, is the unanswerable question.

It’s hard to tell how long she has left; the cancer is spreading quickly through her body. But Alice isn’t focusing on that, instead she wants to “spend this precious time with my family and friends, doing the things I want to do. You only have one life … live it!” Let me tell you something about the amount of courage it takes to have that kind of outlook: it takes an incredibly brave person to accept that they might not win, and still give life all that they can until they lose.

I stumbled across Alice’s blog on Tuesday and in a lot of very selfish ways, I’m thankful for her. I’ve been complaining a lot lately. Have you? Maybe it’s about vacation time or gas prices or a fender bender or a vending machine eating your quarters. Or an obnoxious boss or a traffic jam after a long day or missing your UPS delivery.

Even together, those things are nothing in the face of a young girl with terminal cancer. They are a whisper. They are a gum wrapper.

Sometimes I need to remind myself of that.

To check out the rest of Alice’s Bucket List and to read her journal about her experiences, go here.

You can also help cheer up other kids with cancer by writing them notes and signing their guest books at Post Pals.

And finally you can learn more about Neuroblastoma and the families fighting it here.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” — Mary Anne Radmacher

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