1. This is Alisa. She is 18 years old, and a senior at Colby High School.
Colby is a small town in North West Kansas, population: 5,600.
2. In July of 2012, doctors found a Stage 4 tumor in Alisa’s brain.
3. After a prognosis in early 2014, Alisa was placed on hospice care. As her illness worsened, Alisa made a 48-item bucket list.
1. Kiss Channing Tatum.
2. Indoor sky diving.
3. Throw a big party.
4. Go on a disney cruise.
5. Swim with dolphins.
6. Go to Europe.
7. Go to Vegas.
8. Go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
9. Hot air balloon ride.
10. Learn to shoot a gun.
11. Ride a mechanical bull.
12. Ride an elephant.
13. Try every cheesecake at the cheesecake factory.
14. Go on a taxi ride and say “follow that car.”
15. Release a bunch of lanterns into the sky.
16. Get chocolate wasted.
17. Give people a reason to remember me.
18. Say yes to everything for a whole day.
19. Pie war.
20. Drive all day blasting music.
21. Travel to every state.
22. Go to New York and go sight seeing.
23. Go to Alaska.
24. Kiss under the Eiffel Tower.
25. Walk on the Great Wall of China.
26. Live a happy life.
27. No Facebook for 2 weeks.
28. Pay in pennies.
29. Go zip lining.
30. Go to Times Square for New Year’s.
31. Water sliding from dusk ‘til dawn.
32. Bake a rainbow cake.
33. Hold a baby lion.
34. Drink from a coconut.
35. Go through a drive thru on a horse.
36. Bake in the middle of the night with someone you love.
37. Go to the drive-in movies.
38. Have a glow stick fight.
39. Have a guy sing to me.
40. Propose to a stranger.
41. Tie messages in balloons and release them.
42. Kiss underwater.
43. Ride a dolphin.
44. Play messy Twister.
45. Have a paint fight.
46. Jump in a pool fully clothed.
47. Make an adventure book.
48. Go mudding.
4. Close friends of Alisa’s family posted her bucket list in a private Facebook group called Western Kansas Online Marketplace.
Kayla Lawson, a resident of Colby’s neighboring town of Goodland, saw the listing and decided to help out, she told BuzzFeed on the phone. Lawson drove to Colby, where she met up with others who had expressed interest in doing the same. One of those people was Stephanie Mizell from Hoxie (another close-by town).
5. Together, they created the Facebook page “Alisa’s Butterflies.”
As word of their efforts have spread, people from around the world have volunteered to help out. They are now assisted by Taylor Cole Miller, who is in charge of blogging; Marissa Painter, who lives in Alaska and is planning Alisa’s trip to Alaska; and Rachel Lynch, from Ireland, who helps with photography, just to name a few.
6. Well wishes and thoughts began to roll in quickly after the creation of the page, starting with members of the Colby community and rapidly expanding much farther.
“When we started the page, we were hoping to get 1000 likes,” Lawson told BuzzFeed. “When we hit that number, we just flew by and hit 5000. I was like, wow, this is awesome. Then the likes, shares and comments just kept coming… We hit 10k and I was like, no way did we just do this. People really do care.”
9. Her town rallied around her, pulling out all the stops to make her dreams come true.
This call for donations is at Colby’s local Starbucks. “Colby being a small town and the surrounding small towns like Goodland and Hoxie have made a huge difference,” Lawson wrote. “It is many communities coming together to help Alisa on her journey.”
10. And with help from her community, Alisa started checking items off her list. Here she is having a pie war outside Colby High School:
11. And here she is paying for something entirely in pennies:
12. She tried every cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory:
13. And as per Bucket List item #39, she was sung to by a guy. She then turned around and proposed to him, thereby checking off another item from the list.
The guy in question was Brock Wagoner, a graduate of Colby High School, and the proposal was in jest. They will not, in fact, be getting married.
14. She managed to take a 2 week hiatus from Facebook.
15. And although Alisa has yet to achieve #1 (“Kiss Channing Tatum”), this video message he sent her from backstage at the Oscars comes pretty close:
16. In a note on Facebook, Alisa’s mother said that the family had always had financial and health-related troubles, and she lauded Alisa’s strength and resilience:
“Alisa knows in life there is no guarantees for tomorrow for anyone, and that she only needs to live for today. When Alisa was told by the doctors [that] there was no more they could do, she had a tear in her eye when she looked at her mom and said “Nope, I’m not going to do this.” She smiled at the [doctors], told them “Thank you,” and was ready to go home. There is a hope in her that if her dad and sister can keep surviving their cancer just maybe today can be her good day!
My daughter Alisa has a sparkle in her eyes and strength beyond anyone I know. She has a biological father with heart problems that she witnessed him flat line for several minutes; a father who raised her that was told he had a terminal brain tumor; and a sister at age 22 who fought ovarian cancer twice. They are keeping an eye on her youngest brother for suspicious spots on his thyroid glands and lymph nodes. She has triumphed through so much and still remains positive through all she is going through.”