My father was murdered in a bootlegging turf war with the mafia. Although it wasn't cancer that killed him, my family felt the same secrecy, disgrace, and guilt. Like cancer, it was the death that had no name. Like cancer, my mother never acknowledged my father's death. Not once. Not in her entire life. He was our cancer.
This 9-year-old cancer survivor is on a mission to take back the term "bucket list." One game of "messy twister" at a time. Maya, a third grader from Ohio who is battling a rare form of leukemia, wants to share her "bucket list for summer 2013" (below) to inspire others -- healthy or sick, old or young -- to get busy living.
Part of me knew it was coming and part of me thought I was crazy to even think I could have such a disease at 25. I'll never forget sitting in that room alone and wondering if I would make it to my 26th birthday. It's funny how your attitude about life can change when you realize yours could be taken away.