The story behind this brave 22-year-old’s viral bucket list

Channan Petrides had to make a brutal decision: live longer or just live.

When Petrides, a patient with incurable cystic fibrosis, learned about the risks of the heart and lung transplant operation awaiting her, she removed herself from a transplant list she had been on since September 2014. Instead, she channeled her energy into checking off another list—her bucket list.

“Nobody could say for sure that the transplant would work, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything on my bucket list because of risk of infection.” she told the Mirror. “Cystic fibrosis feels like having a plastic bag over your head and breathing through a straw so a lot of patients who have transplants have to learn to breathe again because they aren’t used to taking in that much air.”

“If it brought me another twenty years, of course I’d do it,” she added, “but doctors told me there was a chance I’d die on the operating table or my new organs would fail after just six months.”

Doctors were first concerned about Channan as a newborn, when she struggled to gain weight. Three months later, a nurse kissed her and noticed a salty taste to her skin, a strong sign of cystic fibrosis. The diagnosis quickly followed.

While most people with cystic fibrosis live into their 40s, Channan’s health started declining at 19, according to the Mirror. After being rushed to the hospital last November with a chest infection, Petrides took to Facebook and later GoFundMe to share her story, raise awareness about cystic fibrosis and share a list of things she wanted to do to live her life to the fullest.

Here’s her to-do list, much of it she’s incredibly accomplished already.

“I was nervous to upload it because I’m not one for sympathy,’ she told the Mirror. “I try to be as positive I can and never like to splash it over social media if I’m having a bad day, but the response has been amazing.”

Since she posted it, Petrides story has been shared more than 35,000 times. She’s also received donations from over 300 people to help her live out her dreams.

Channan has crossed out the majority of her bucket list, including meeting a penguin, a West Ham United midfielder, Mark Noble, and riding in a hot air balloon. In July, she is attending an Ed Sheeran concert where she hopes to meet the singer and mark another goal off her list.

More recently, she’s been focused on another item: “I would love to go to The Brit Awards next year and have the VIP experience of walking on the red carpet,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page, where she’s also thanked benefactors around the world for their support.

Hopefully, Channan will be given that opportunity. She’s certainly earned it, as both a model of strength and a powerful voice in raising awareness about living with cystic fibrosis. “You are a inspiration to everyone,” wrote one Facebook commenter. “I think you’re a brilliant inspiration to all who suffer with cf. 2 of my babies have it and it will be nice to show them pictures to prove they can have some what of a ‘normal’ life an do things they will think they can’t,” wrote another commenter. 

There is no ‘right’ way to decide how to live and it takes bravery to stick to difficult decisions and find the beauty in life, no matter the circumstances.

(Images via GoFundMe)