My son in law who is in the Blues and Royals regiment of the household cavalry managed to get me a ticket for Trooping the Colour an annual event at which the Queen presents the regimental colours (standard or flag) to the regiment. There is something about the immaculate uniforms, precision marching and riding combined with the music of military bands that strikes an emotional chord.... I felt privileged to witness the event and also to be invited to have lunch in the officers mess at the Knightsbridge barracks... Family's are good at creating opportunities for each other.
The internet is a fantastic tool for connecting us to people we are never likely to meet and be touched in the process. A few days ago I came across a blog called 'Alice's Bucket List' written by a 17 year old girl who was terminally ill with cancer and what proved to be her final blog was written on Jan 1st 2012. Her mum's post explained that she had died 12 days later.
I read lots of blogs but there was something special about the way Alice's blog was helping her create new meanings and purposes in her life in the eighteen months she wrote it. She realised that she might not live very long and so had created for herself a 'bucket list' of experiences she wanted to have. As Alice explains in her blog the bucket list helped her live her remaining life to the full doing the things that she wanted to do and achieving her dreams and ambitions in the process with the people she loved and who loved her.
'I've created a bucket list because there are so many things I still want to do in my life ... some are possible, some will remain a dream. My blog is to document this precious time with my family and friends, doing the things I want to do. You only have one life ... live it!'
This list of things to do also gave her family and friends a list of things to help her achieve and so added meaning and purpose to their own lives. You cannot help but be moved by the stories Alice tells in her blog of the way she achieved her dreams and ambitions in spite of being very ill.
But her bucket list was not just about satisfying her own needs and desires. In particular, there were two items on her list that were focused on the needs of others, and of trying to make a positive difference to the world, in the time she had left. The first was to set up, with the help of parents and friends, her own charity 'Alice's Escapes'.
Alice’s Escapes is run by a team of volunteers committed to providing free holidays for families with a seriously ill child. The idea for Alice’s Escapes came after Alice and her family spent a week being looked after by the Torbay Holiday Helper’s Network (THHN), based in Devon. All accommodation, food, outings and activities were given with the compliments of local businesses. After many years of gruelling treatments, Alice and her family were able to step back and experience ‘normal’ family life. Alice, and now her sister, who is carrying on, with the help of friends and local businesses are raising money to help the families of very sick children to have a holiday together in the Lake District. You can find out more and donate http://www.alices-escapes.co.uk/
Because of her illness and treatment Alice was acutely aware of the need for bone marrow donors so at the top of her bucket list was her wish to raise awareness of bone marrow registers and to get everyone who was able to register. So far over 40,000 people have registered after reading her appeal.
Alice not only achieved most of what she had on her bucket list, she has inspired many other people to do things that they would not have done, and she has created a legacy that, through her family and friends, especially her sister Milly, will live on and carry on making a difference to the lives of others who are going through what she went through.
In sharing her thoughts, feelings, fears and ambitions through her blog Alice has had a profound effect on the world. Reading her blog you feel her love of life and the people she cared for and who cared for her, her desire to do and to achieve and her happiness at doing the things she set out to do. But also through her words you feel her pain, suffering and despair and the way she bravely comes to terms with her own demise as she nears the end of a life in which she has created so much meaning and purpose.
This issue of Lifewide Magazine is dedicated to becoming the person you want to become. Alice had very little time to become the person she wanted to become but what she had she used in a way that enabled her to become that person. Her story is a shining example to us all of how we might create and live a life of meaning and purpose and inspire others around us to do the same.
Although I never knew Alice, through the thoughts and feelings she crystallised in her blog, I felt connected to her and her family and what she was trying to achieve. I noticed that I wasn't the only one - I was the 4,776417th visitor to her website!!!!! Why not be the next? http://alicepyne.blogspot.co.uk/
Alice's Bucket List
· To get everyone eligible to join a bone marrow register
· To get EVERYONE to have a bucket list
· To get to the Royal Garden party in May
· DONE - To buy a static caravan for my charity
· DONE - To actually receive my B.E.M. medal
· DONE - To go whale watching
· DONE - To go to my school leavers prom
· DONE - To meet Take That
· DONE - To design a Emma Bridgewater Mug to sell for charity
· DONE - To stay in the Chocolate room at Alton Towers
· DONE - To swim with sharks
· DONE 'ish - To go to Kenya (got to go to Kent-ya)!
· DONE - To enter Mabel in a Labrador show
· DONE - Photo shoot with Milly, Clarissa, Sammie and Megs
· DONE - To have a private cinema party for me and my BFFs
· DONE- To stay in a caravan
· DONE - To have a purple Apple ipad
· DONE - To have a nice picture taken with Mabel
· DONE - To have my hair done
· DONE - To have a back massage
To donate to Alice's charity visit http://www.alices-escapes.co.uk/ or visit Alice's own website http://alicepyne.blogspot.co.uk/
Bone Marrow Registers WORLDWIDE
DKMS Bone Marrow Register
British Bone Marrow Registry 18 - 49 inc
I went for a walk with my daughter and grandson on Box Hill.. It was wet and very windy and quite bracing.. my grandson ran around quite wild as the wind took his breath away... Afterwards we went to the cafe for a hot drink and I picked up the National Trust leaflet called '50 things to do before you are 11 & 3/4'. It's a brilliant approach to encouraging lifewide activity, through which children (and their parents) can learn and develop, and a great way to encourage kids to explore the world and to talk about their adventures. Perhaps there is something in the approach that we could adapt for our lifewide development award. Could we perhaps use it as a design tool to encourage people to create a list of 10 new things to do during 2013 as a personal goal?
Postscript: I signed up as a learner and periodically I receive email prompts with suggestions of things I might do reflecting the time of year we are in..
To develop my understandings of how I learn and develop through all parts of my life by recording and reflecting on my own life as it happens.
I have a rough plan but most of what I do emerges from the circumstances of my life