Comment: Alice was a true inspiration

First published in Opinion The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

MENTION the Ulverston teenager Alice Pyne in conversation and one word crops up time and again - inspirational.

The 17-year-old, who died from a rare form of cancer at the weekend, packed more into her short life than many people manage to do during decades of living.

From the day the moving story of her now famous ‘bucket list’ broke in the summer of 2011, when she was 15, Alice demonstrated to the world an amazing zest for life - articulated in the motto ‘one life, live it’.

She certainly lived up to her own maxim - with bravery, determination and an amazing creative flair.

Although Alice’s bucket list was very much what she wanted to achieve for herself, her actions were far from selfish.

One entry - to get more people signing up for the bone marrow transplant register - superbly exemplifies this as does the charity Alice’s Escapes, which she set up with her parents to provide Lake District holidays for families with seriously ill children.

Alice’s love of life won the hearts of millions and before long the story of her bucket list and her brave battle against Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which she was diagnosed with aged 12, moved pop stars and politicians alike - including the Prime Minister, whom she met at 10 Downing Street.

Her campaigning zeal - and that of her equally impressive younger sister Milly - raised around £100,000 for good causes and this was recognised when she became the youngest person to be awarded the British Empire Medal.

But it was Alice’s inspirational work encouraging people to sign the bone marrow register that will be her lasting legacy.

After she appeared at the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards last year, the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan Trust received 26 times more applications from people wanting to sign up for the register.

That was on top of around 40,000 people she had already persuaded to come forward.

Her supreme efforts, which must have been very tiring for one so ill, are all the more remarkable because they were undertaken with sensitivity, charm and humour.

Truly inspirational!

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