Girl's 'bucket list' spurs on bone marrow donors

  • @tompeck

"To stay in a caravan. To meet Take That. To go to Cadbury World and eat loads of chocolate." Since Alice Pyne from Cumbria – 16 years old and dying from Hodgkin's lymphoma – published a "bucket list" online almost six months ago, almost all her wishes have come true.

The phrase comes from the 2008 film The Bucket List, in which Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play two old men who embark on a road trip to complete a list of things they want to do before they "kick the bucket".

At the very top of Alice's list, however, was a request rather trickier to fulfil: "To make everyone sign up to be a bone marrow donor."

The request sparked a campaign by the Anthony Nolan Trust, a bone marrow donation charity that has reported an extraordinary rise in donors since Alice brought the matter to the public's attention.

The trust launched a campaign to add more than 10,000 young men to their register of blood stem-cell donors – males aged 18 to 30 are by far the best donors. Among many notable people to back the campaign was writer and broadcaster Charlie Brooker, who took to Youtube to encourage young men to send in saliva samples and join the donor database.

The charity now has 30,000 new donors, almost 40 per cent of whom are males aged 18 to 30. An unusually delighted Brooker, who registered himself, said: "By doing something as simple and indeed cathartic as spitting into a cup, young men, who generally get a bad rep, can help save lives.

"Alice seems to be a remarkable character. I'm bad-tempered even when I have nothing worse to complain about than a stubbed toe. She's facing a difficult situation with a pragmatism and optimism which has clearly moved people in a good way."

Those interested in registering, donating money, or both, can do so at