Nine years ago I went to the library and loaned a book, Way’s to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls. It was purple and shiny and I loved the cover. I admit it was part of the reason I picked it because it caught my eye on the shelf.
But it was the story that resonated with me.
The blurb for the book reads:
“My name is Sam. I am eleven years old. I collect stories and fantastic facts. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead.” Sam is dying of leukaemia. He hasn’t got forever, so every minute counts. He wants the facts about UFOs and horror movies and airships and ghosts and scientists, and how it feels to kiss a girl. And, most importantly, he wants to know the facts about dying. Can Sam get answers to the questions that nobody will answer – and find a way to live a lifetime in the months that he has left?”
It is still one of my favourite books today.
After I read it I emailed the author, Sally via her website to tell her how much I loved the book. I told her I was going to do Creative Writing at University. She had done an MA in the same subject. Sally went on to win numerous prizes for the book which was her debut she has since gone on to write many more but while I like her other work Ways to Live Forever and it’s shiny purple cover remain my firm favourite.
A few years later I re-read the book as part of an assignment for my degree. It made me cry again and I loved it just as much. I began to google bucket lists and came across a blog written by a 15 year old girl called Alice Pyne. Her motto : One life…live it!”.
The blog chronicled her fight with cancer and her quest to complete her bucket list Sadly Alice gained her angel wings in 2013 at the age of 17. She achieved so much in such a short time, even though she was poorly herself she selflessly thought of others and wanted to provide holidays for seriously ill children and their families. She won a Pride of Britain award, Abigail Breslin and Cassidy Rieff wrote a song for her and to encourage people to sign up to the bone marrow donor list.
After reading her blog I contacted Vicky Pyne, Alice’s mum to find out more about the charity Alice had set up called Alice’s Escapes. In 2012 myself and a friend did the Coniston to Barrow (C2B) with Alice’s family and some of her closest friends to raise funds for the charity. The Coniston to Barrow is a 20+ mile walk/run across some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Lake District. I had a fantastic time, met some truly wonderful people. Every year since then I have done the walk and I will be doing it again this year for Alice and her wonderful charity. The video below shows just why I continue to do it every year.