Though Twitter seems mostly used for advertising, celebrity gossip and teenagers declaring their love for Justin Bieber, it sometimes ends up being a source of good will and community involvement as well, with users banding together to help others in need. Actress Demi Moore, concerned that one of her followers was threatening to commit suicide, inspired other Twitter users to track down where the troubled follower was located so that police could be called for assistance. Donnie Wahlberg of pop group New Kids on the Block recently assisted one of his Twitter followers in finding a kidney donor. Now, millions of Twitter users, celebrities and non-celebrities alike, are helping a dying girl fulfill a wish.
Alice Pyne, a teenager in Ulverston, England with terminal Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, created a blog for her “bucket list,” a list of accomplishments she hopes to complete before dying. Bucket lists have become popular in recent years, both for terminally ill and healthy people, and have included everything from “stay up all night to watch the sun rise” to “climb Mt. Everest.” Among the items on Alice’s list is for more people to register as bone marrow donors, and the word is spreading on Twitter, with users passing links to Alice’s blog as well as information on bone marrow donation. Using the hash tag #alicebucketlist, thousands of Twitter users are getting her message out.
Registering to be a bone marrow donor is quick and easy. It can either be done through a donor drive (search here for drives in your area) or by sending away for an information packet. All it requires is swabbing the insides of the cheeks, and the specimen is kept on file until if or when it’s designated as a match for someone in need. Bone marrow donation is considered minor surgery, with recovery usually taking no more than two to three days. Illnesses that may require a bone marrow transplant include Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, leukemia or aplastic anemia.
Though, sadly, Alice’s illness is no longer treatable, accomplishing one of the items on her bucket list will bring the possibility of a cure for other individuals with her condition. Twitter’s impact on communication is becoming a force to be reckoned with, as it allows everyone the opportunity to spread messages of hope and help like Alice’s to friends, followers and strangers alike, all over the world.
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