'To-do list' of teen who only had days to live is a wake-up call to all
Liverpool teenager Jess Fairclough was initially diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2014 and last November she received the worst news: it had spread to her bone marrow and she only had days to live.
What struck Jess's friends and family was just how brave she was when she was given the news.
"When Jess was told, she just said 'don't worry mum, not everyone's meant to live a long time, but that's OK,'" family friend Liz Taylor told the Liverpool Echo. "That's what she was like, just an amazing brave kid. She was the kid who always thought of other people."
Jess wasted no time in leaving her legacy: a list of things that were "important" to her and what she wanted to do before she died.
The heartbreaking list included "Being with family + friends," "Filling in my journal" and outweighing "the bad with the good."
Jess also expressed her intention to "read and listen and talk and write and draw and make music."
She added: "These make up being happy and that I believe that is the secret to life: to be happy and to make stuff and to be as good to each other as possible. (sic)"
Initially Jess was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of soft tissue sarcoma, and at that stage her parents decided not to tell her it was terminal. Jess briefly went into remission around her 18th birthday on Nov. 5 but shortly after that she complained of a pain in her collarbone and tests revealed the cancer had spread. She was transferred to intensive care and died on Nov. 18.
"When it came back, she only had seven days," said Liz. "She died in her mum and dad's arms."
After Jess passed away her mum posted her list on Facebook to remind family and friends to try to live a happy life.
Jess's list in full
- Being with family + friends
- Filling in my journal + recording thru film + photography [sic]
- Outweigh the bad with the good
- Read and listen and talk and write and draw and make music
These make up being happy and that I believe that is the secret to life: to be happy and to make stuff and to be as good to each other as possible (sic)."
Inspired by the brave teenager's attitude, Liz has set up a fundraising page on JustGiving to encourage people to take part in a series of sponsored crossfit challenges to raise money for cancer charity CLIC Sargent.
"Jess never moaned, she met every challenge," said Liz. "We want to do her proud and get as much money for CLIC Sargent as we can. Jess was a great girl and she still is. She saw the best in everyone and just got on with things and I think we could all do that more. You forget life's too short so that's Jess's legacy."