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This Ovarian Cancer Patient’s ”List For Living’ Will Make You Cry

Go into space (DONE!)

Helen Fawkes was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just after her 30th birthday.

The BBC Journalist knew her life would never be the same, and there was a high chance it would end a lot sooner than she’d imagined. 

Shortly after her 40th birthday, the cancer she thought she’d gotten rid of had returned and Helen started her blog

“I’m not terminally ill, but I will die a lot sooner than I ever imagined,” she wrote of her diagnosis.

After receiving the devastating news, Helen came up with a plan: she created a ‘List for Living’, and would spend the next few years ticking off each thing she wanted to do before dying.  

The list was made up of 50 tasks, including life goals – such as living in her own house and moving to the countryside, travel destinations – such as recovering from chemo on a beautiful beach and exploring the ancient ruins in Rome, and others which seemed nearly impossible to complete – such as going to space.

However, BBC reports that, heartwarmingly, Helen’s name was engraved on a microchip carried by Nasa’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft which was launched in September last year.

Friends helped Helen to tick off her goals, with one organising for her to speed around a racetrack with the Formula 1 driver, David Coulthard, and another taking her to see the Northern Lights in Norway.

But one of the best things she ticked off her list? Getting married. 

“This was the most magical, wonderful day of my life,” she wrote on her blog.

“This was the last thing on my List for Living that I really wanted to do and it is the most special. This was much more than just ticking something off a list. So much more,” she continued.

“It’s not the years in your life that matter, it’s the life in your years.”

This was Helen’s final blog post. The 45-year-old died last week, after a 15-year long battle.

Below, read Helen’s List for Living in full.

  1. Move to the countryside (DONE!)
  2. Live in my own house (DONE!)
  3. Enjoy walks with Sasha the dog (DONE!)
  4. Play a netball game, again (DONE!)
  5. Recover from chemo on a ridiculously perfect beach (DONE!)
  6. Have a day at the zoo (DONE!)
  7. Go to Paris by Eurostar just for lunch (DONE!)
  8. Visit Pompeii and drive along the Amalfi coast (DONE!)
  9. Explore the ancient ruins in Rome (DONE!)
  10. Snorkel on a coral reef (DONE!)
  11. See snowy mountains in Scotland
  12. Take a dip in Iceland’s blue lagoon
  13. See the Northern Lights (DONE!)
  14. Go tobogganing
  15. Bathe in the Bath Spa as the sun goes down (DONE!)
  16. See Stonehenge at sunrise (DONE!)
  17. Go into space (DONE!)
  18. Get married (DONE!!!)
  19. Get my book published
  20. Present a BBC Radio 4 programme (DONE!)
  21. Hold an exhibition of my cow photographs (DONE!)
  22. Do voluntary work (DONE!)
  23. Learn to make sushi
  24. See the Giants Causeway
  25. Visit Barcelona
  26. Ride my bike again
  27. Fly a kite (DONE!)
  28. Zoom down a zip wire (DONE!)
  29. Travel on a steam train (DONE!)
  30. Go coasteering (DONE!)
  31. Take a speed boat down the Thames (DONE!)
  32. Swing on a trapeze
  33. Fly in a hot air balloon (DONE!)
  34. Take a private jet over London (DONE!)
  35. Go on a road trip
  36. Be driven very fast around a race track in a sports car (DONE!)
  37. Sleep under the stars (DONE!)
  38. Learn to play poker
  39. Get a henna tattoo
  40. Grow my hair long, again
  41. Be a model and work the catwalk (DONE!)
  42. Eat a meal in a prison
  43. Pull a pint in a proper pub (DONE!)
  44. Have a picnic (DONE!)
  45. Go glassblowing (DONE!)
  46. See puffins in Britain (DONE!)
  47. Swim with sharks
  48. Sail alongside a pod of dolphins at sea (DONE!)
  49. Ride a camel across a desert
  50. Drink champagne in one of the best bars in the world just before Christmas to celebrate still being alive (DONE!)

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