8-Year-Old Girl with Terminal Cancer Turns Bucket List into Liv List

No parent expects a young child to make a Bucket List.

So, when eight-year-old, Ella Goering from Des Moines Iowa, returned home from school one afternoon and announced she wanted to create a Bucket List, her mother, Sherri knew the ensuing conversation would be important… and special.

The Diagnosis. And the Plan.

On December, 18, 2015, Ella received the devastating news that her young and beautiful self had terminal brain cancer. There was nothing left the doctors could do to save her life. In that moment, Sherri felt how precious life was, and how fleeting it could be. She decided to make it her mission to help Ella live each of her remaining days as fully and as joyfully as possible.

“Ella’s teacher had just read the book, Judy Moody and the Bucket List, to the class, which stirred something inside Ella, and the first thing she wanted to do when she returned home was to talk about it,” says Sherri, a mom of two girls. “So, I started recording the conversation on my phone. I regret I didn’t videotape a lot of our family experiences with Ella before she got sick, so now I try to film as many moments as I can. I wanted to listen to her. Be completely present with her. And I wanted to remember it always.”

The video was, indeed, special, for it captured Ella asking her mother to create a Bucket List together.

And while that question from a terminally-ill child is so heartbreaking, Sherri chose to surrender herself to the moment and not succumb to fear. And so, following the question came a heartwarming conversation between mother and daughter.

“I explained to her that instead of creating a Bucket List, we could create a Liv List. This way, we would not wait to make her dreams come true, but would actually do them as soon as possible,” says Sherri.

A New Mission

This idea of turning a Bucket List into a Liv List was the mission of a lifestyle company Sherri had recently joined called, Liv.

“The Liv mission impacted me because I’ve found that we all make excuses of why we can’t take a trip or have a certain experience. For the past three years, we talked about doing family vacations, but there were always reasons why it wasn’t the best time. Like, oh, it costs too much. Or, work schedules are busy. Or, the kids are too young to remember it. And maybe they wouldn’t … but I would. I would have had memories of Ella running down the beach. Swimming in the ocean. Playing and laughing in the snow.”

But Sherri knows that although she doesn’t have those specific memories, there are new ones she can create with Ella in the time they have left. And that’s through checking things off of Ella’s Liv List.

Creating the Liv List

With her mom sitting next to her, an ambitious Ella started composing her Liv List.

CLICK HERE to read entire article and watch the video on what became of that Liv List and how Blake Mallen and Nick Sarnicola helped her check an item off that list.

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