How would you spend your last day?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2011

The question is simple. The answer? Not so much. “If today was your last day on this earth, how would you spend it?”

Most of us prefer to avoid thinking about this concept. But for a 15-year-old girl named Alice Pyne, this is the question she posed.

It may be hypothetical for you and I. For Alice, it is nearly reality.

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“I’ve been fighting cancer for almost 4 years and now I know that the cancer is gaining on me and it doesn’t look like I’m going to win this one,” the British girl wrote online.

The girl has grabbed international attention almost by accident. Alice wanted to document her remaining time on this earth so she created a blog and a “bucket list” of things she’d like to do.

In part because her honesty and passion for good causes, Alice’s story caught fire. National media has picked it up. Celebrities have talked about her. People have started to pay attention.

You can read her blog at

Here are some of the things this 15-year-old who has been forced to live anything but an ordinary life hopes to do while she still has time:

> To make everyone sign up to be a bone marrow donor

> To swim with sharks

> To go to Kenya (I can’t travel there now but I wanted to))

> To enter Mabel in a regional Labrador show

> To go to Cadbury World and eat loads of chocolate

Others are far smaller in scope but no less important to this teenager.

> To have my hair done if they can do anything with it

> To have a back massage

These are things that many of us may take for granted but, for this little girl, they are important.

It is encouraging to see that people are taking interest in her and helping her cross some things off that list.

Hopefully, Alice’s positive attitude and passion for bone marrow donation will inspire others to take action.

If nothing else, maybe this will inspire some of us to do some self reflection and look for some answers to that question: “If today was your last day on this earth, how would you spend it?”

Personally, I don’t know that answer but I’m pretty sure some of the things that I often think are important or get worked up over wouldn’t make the top 10. Or even the top 20.

There are thousands and thousands of children battling debilitating diseases like cancer. There are some here in our own community.

We owe it to them — and ourselves — to find our own answers to that question.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at