Monday 16 December 2019

This inspirational terminally ill leukaemia patient is using lemons in a world record bid

Given a year to live, Chris is hoping to make a world record and complete a remarkable bucket list.

Dillon and Chris (YouTube/One List , One Life)
Dillon and Chris (YouTube/One List , One Life)

By Edd Dracott, Press Association

Last September Chris Betancourt, a 20-year-old from California, was told his leukaemia had returned and he had just one year to live.

On hearing the news, Chris’s friend Dillon Hill, 19, dropped out of college and dedicated himself to helping Chris achieve a bucket list of things he would like to do before he dies – and they have been documenting the journey on their YouTube channel since.

Their latest endeavour is to break a world record, and with the imaginative help of some lemons they are hoping to break the record for most bone marrow donation sign-ups.

The #LemonsForLeukemia challenge sees people making lemonade in the most imaginative ways they can and drinking it to raise awareness and encourage bone marrow donation – which is Chris’s last hope in defeating the disease.

“This whole story ends in one of two ways, either we find a bone marrow donor for Chris and we save his life or we don’t and he passes,” Dillon told the Press Association. “If we can’t save him we may as well leave a legacy of bringing in thousands of donors to save other people’s lives.”

So, why lemons?

“Chris is a weirdo and wanted to bite into a lemon for some reason,” said Dillon. “But once we thought about it the whole thing makes a lot of sense.

“Life handed him the lemon of leukaemia, but he’s out there living out his bucket list and staying positive. That’s the best lemonade possible.”

Chris has already completed “be on TV”, “give homeless people food and water” and “fly a plane” from his list.

Chris in the plane

Other items include “walk on a fashion runway”, “go to space” and “go to a buffet and eat until their tell me to leave”.

“When Dillon first called me and told me to make a bucket list, I threw random things down and I never expected them to actually happen,” said Chris. “Boy was I wrong.

“This has all been so incredible and really we don’t deserve any of it but we are so thankful it’s happening.”

After completing his own #LemonsForLeukemia attempt, Chris challenged celebrities Danny DeVito and Dwayne Johnson to do the same.

“Lifting weights with The Rock is another thing on our bucket list, so we’re hoping to connect with him for a few reasons,” said Dillon. “He also has a very clear message of positivity, something that we want to surround ourselves with, and it’s cool to think how he would make his lemonade.”

The pair have been reaching out to other terminally ill patients and hope “to extend their good luck” to others.

“We really just want people to appreciate the small things,” said Dillon. “You don’t need to be dying to experience a bucket list.”

You can support Chris and Dillon by visiting their website, or following them on Twitter, Facebook,
Instagram or Reddit.

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News