When Vicky Pyne realized that she’d lost her treasured necklace, she panicked. After all, it was a parting gift from her late teenaged daughter, and it was entirely irreplaceable. Vicky knew in that moment that she would need a miracle if the necklace was ever going to be returned. What she didn’t know was that sometimes miracles do happen.
Vicky’s daughter was called Alice Pyne, and up until the age of 13 Alice was just a normal girl. But shortly after her 13th birthday, the teen from Cumbria in the U.K. would receive the worst news possible.
Indeed, Alice was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This is an aggressive form of blood cancer that can quickly spread to other parts of the body. After her diagnosis, however, Alice bravely decided not to waste a single moment.
In fact, Alice created a bucket list – a collection of things that she wanted to do before she died – and she was determined to complete it. But what started as a personal quest for fulfilment soon turned into a public story with which everybody fell in love.
That’s because Alice’s mom Vicky decided to create a blog documenting all of the experiences that her daughter would have while fighting her disease. The blog inevitably went viral, and soon people all over the world were aware of Alice’s mission.
“Even when she was diagnosed, there was never a doubt that she wouldn’t beat it,” said Vicky on U.K. breakfast show This Morning. “She just carried on doing everything, being ill was just an inconvenience. It was impossible not to be positive around her.”
Indeed, Alice did some incredible things. For instance, she made it to her school prom, she swam with sharks, she met her favorite boy band, Take That, and she contributed a huge amount to charitable causes.
Additionally, she started her own charity, Alice’s Escapes, and she campaigned tirelessly to get people to join the bone marrow register. She was successful too. In fact, after Alice spoke about the register at the 2012 Pride of Britain awards, the Anthony Nolan blood cancer charity saw 26 times more people than normal apply to be donors.
However, things began going downhill for Alice around the time of her 16th birthday. It was at this point that Alice realized that she probably wasn’t going to make it. But she had one final gift to give, this time to her mom. That gift was a necklace with two fingerprints embedded into it – one was hers, the other was her sister’s.
“The necklace was made for my 40th birthday as a gift from Alice,” Vicky told The Telegraph. “At the time she added one charm which was a hiking boot as I had just completed the Inca trail in Peru for charity.”
Tragically, on January 12, 2013, Alice lost her battle with cancer after struggling with the disease for over four years. She had achieved so much over the course of her illness, and her legacy still lives on – not least in the necklace that Vicky took everywhere with her.
So in 2015 when Vicky took a trip to New York City, the necklace traveled with her too. But soon after arriving in the Big Apple something terrible happened. “After stopping for lunch and shopping for no more than one hour, we returned to our hotel where I realized the necklace was missing,” Vicky said.
“I went through an initial stage of telling myself to calm down and that it would be in my clothing,” said Vicky. “After I double checked everything, the reality that I had actually lost it hit me.”
Vicky had to act quickly if she was ever going to stand a chance of getting her necklace back. So she took to Facebook and put an appeal out on Alice’s page before returning to the U.K. Luckily for her, the appeal caught the attention of NBC News.
And, incredibly, the appeal worked. “After their news piece, our appeal got around half a million shares and ultimately resulted in the lost poster being posted on the wall of a friend of the lovely couple who found [the necklace],” said Vicky.
The lovely couple in question? Freddy and Emelie Ortiz, who spotted the necklace on a New York street. “I was going to leave it hanging somewhere, but I decided to take it with me as I thought somebody would probably claim it,” said Freddy. And then he saw Vicky’s heartfelt appeal.
Consequently, Freddy and Emelie emailed Vicky to tell her that they had some amazing news. Vicky was then flown back to New York to meet the couple and to be reunited with her necklace.
Aside from cherishing the necklace, however, Vicky Pyne and her family are continuing the charitable legacy left behind by Alice. Indeed, Alice’s sister Milly still fundraises for Alice’s Escapes and, as of February 2015, had raised over £100,000 for other charities too.
And Vicky has been busy as well. In April 2016, for instance, she ran the London Marathon. “I can’t believe that I’ve just run a marathon,” she wrote excitedly on her Just Giving page.
The message that we can take from all of this, then, is to never take life for granted. “Alice was so desperate not to die and yet she remained positive and focused on the things that mattered to her,” Vicky told The Telegraph. “She had so much more to give this world and it’s so desperately sad that she’s gone, we love and miss her more each day.”