Life Health & Wellbeing

Friday 19 October 2018

'Be kind, read more books and eat ice cream' - Doctor shares heartbreaking wishes of terminally-ill children

Photo: Alistair McAlpine/ Twitter
Photo: Alistair McAlpine/ Twitter

Sarah Young

A palliative paediatrician has shared the dying wishes of terminally ill children in his care.

Tired of seeing negative stories on social media, Alistair McAlpine, from Cape Town, took to Twitter where he posted an extensive thread that subsequently moved users to tears.

Working for non-profit organisation PaedsPal, McAlpine cares for children with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses on a daily basis and decided to ask his young patients exactly what it was they enjoyed in life.

He then posted their heartwarming and often humorous answers online for all to see.

McAlpine was quick to point out that none of the children, aged between four and nine, said they wished they had watched more TV, spent more time on Facebook or enjoyed hospital.

Instead, he details how much they liked talking about their pets, their love of ice cream and building sandcastles on the beach.

The doctor tweeted examples of what some of the children had said, with one youngster adding, "I love when Ginny snuggles up to me at night and purrs."

Another said, “Being in the sea with the waves was so exciting.”

Many also expressed how much they valued kindness, laughter and the love of their families.

“My granny is so kind to me. She always makes me smile,” one child shared.

Interestingly, McAlpine explained that almost all of them loved books and being told stories, urging parents to read more to their kids.

However, among the amusing and super-sweet quotes were those that really emphasised what the children were going through.

Several revealed that they worry about their parents being sad with one child saying, “Dad mustn't worry. He'll see me again soon.”

Another said: “God will take care of my mum and dad when I'm gone.”

Meanwhile, many others said they wished they had spent less time worrying about what people thought of them and instead valued those who treated them “normally.”

“My real friends didn't care when my hair fell out,” said one of McAlpine’s patients.

Another added, “Jane came to visit after the surgery and didn't even notice the scar!”

Finishing the thread, the doctor shared the message he hoped people would take from the children’s reflections.

“Be kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your dog. Tell that special person you love them,” he wrote.

“These are the things these kids wished they could've done more. The rest is details.”

“Oh... and eat ice-cream.”

Very quickly, McAlpine’s initial tweet went viral receiving an incredible 61,000 likes, 41,000 retweets and more than 1,000 comments from people thanking him for sharing.

“What a wonderful yet tear jerking thread,” one person commented.

Another added, “I don't remember feeling such heart melt and heartache over any twitter thread.”

Independent News Service

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