A terminally-ill cancer patient has drawn up a ‘bucket list’ with a twist – a list of things to help others fulfil their dreams.
Big-hearted Simon Mitchell, 41, has just two years to live after being diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer of the blood.
But rather than draw up a list of experiences to fulfil himself, he has devoted the rest of his life to helping others.
His bucket list consists of things to help other people’s dreams come true, such as helping sick children meet their celebrity heroes.
The former PR man also plans to raise £100,000 for charity, help 60 injured soldiers and fulfil the wishes of 300 sick children.
Among the wishes he has already granted include meeting Katie Price and The Stig, arranging family holidays, and getting the latest games consoles.
Simon, who is married to Kerrie, 28, has already raised £60,000 through various fundraising events since he was diagnosed.
Incredibly, he has even found time to helped capture a knife-wielding robber – earning him praise from the Prime Minister.
He said: “If I manage this list and I die with a smile on my face, with people remembering me and with my wife proud of me, then it will all have been worth it.
“It might all make my condition worse but it’s a chance I’m willing to take. I’ll only stop when my body tells me to stop.
“I call up companies and pull on their heart strings with pictures and news articles about deserving people.
“Once they’ve helped, I’ll send them a certificate with a picture of the person that’s benefited so they can remember what a brilliant thing they’ve done.”
Simon’s illness forced him to quit his PR job for phone company Orange but he still has the contacts and expertise to help him reach his goal.
He often reads about injured soldiers or sick children in local newspapers or online or through word of mouth and contacts them.
Simon will then put them in contact with charities that can help them or will bully a company into helping them fulfil their dreams.
Top of his bucket list is to help 60 injured soldiers – something he has already started with the help of Lancashire-based charity, A Ray of Sunshine.
The organisation has a villa near Cadiz, Spain, which is available free of charge for deserving people.
Simon, of Blackpool, has worked with the charity to arranged special trips abroad for two soldiers and their families, Terry Mair, of Blackpool, and Steven Robinson, of Leyland, Lancs.
A Ray of Sunshine arranged for both soldiers to have holidays in Spain, while Simon used his PR contacts to get free flights, car hire, entertainment, and even petrol.
Former SAS man Terry, 44, who was left wheelchair-bound after being wrongly diagnosed with a nervous disorder, said: ”The holiday was just fantastic.
“It was great to get away and forget about a few things. I can’t thank Simon or A Ray Of Sunshine enough.
”I think he is an outstanding man, it is nice there are people out there like him.”
Simon, who was hit by an IED in Afghanistan, said: “A lot of the general public forget that we’re still at war and some armed forces personnel are forgotten about when they return to the UK.
“Families can only be supportive so far, my aim is to try and make them forget, if only for a few days, what’s happened to them.”
Since his diagnosis Simon has also helped make the wishes of around 300 sick children come true.
Daniel Wilkinson, 17, of Bingley, North Yorkshire, has between one and five years left to live because of a brain tumour.
Simon arranged for him to go and meet his idols, the presenters of Top Gear, after he was contacted with Daniel’s story by brain tumour charity Andrea’s Gift.
He said: “I got in touch with one of the producers and they arranged for him to go to their track near Guildford.
“He went three times around with The Stig and met Richard, Jeremy, and James, who all chatted with him.”
Mr Mitchell has also built up a relationship with Katie Price, who agreed to meet fan and cancer-sufferer Gabriella Davidson, four, at a book signing.
Amy Wolsthenholme, a two-year-old meningitis victim who lost a leg to the disease, enjoyed a holiday in Spain thanks to Simon.
He helped organise the villa through A Ray Of Sunshine and also sorted out flights – including a seat in the cockpit.
Simon is now working with forces charity Band of Brothers by arranging holidays, concert visits, and celebrity meet-ups for 30 soldiers a year.
He has raised #60,000 for seven charities since 2010 and even completed a 200ft bungee-jump only weeks after chemotherapy.
“It was just three weeks after I completed a course of chemo,” he said. “I was sick. My wife shouted at me. But I know it was only because she cares.”
Simon, who had half of his right lung removed soon after diagnosis, wants to raise a total of £100,000 for charity before he dies through daring acts like a sponsored climb of Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc, and driving to the North Pole.
He said: “How many people have climbed Mont Blanc with half of their right lung removed? I’m sure I have the strength in me to do it.”
David Lee, owner of A Ray of Sunshine, said what Simon was doing is a “special thing”.
He said: “We are very grateful. He’s giving something back at a time when most people want to help themselves.”
Amazingly, Simon has also won praise from David Cameron – after he helped capture a knife-wielding robber just a few months after diagnosis.
He bravely pursued a the knifeman after spotting him threaten a woman and then guided police to his location.
“He was a bit quicker than me because of my treatment but I could still run,” said Simon.
“Being diagnosed with a terminal illness takes the fear away from situations like that. The Prime Minister wrote to commend me for my bravery.”
Simon said his own wish was a simple one – “to live”.
He said: “I want to be able to buy myself enough time for more research into the treatment of my illness.
“If I were to survive it I’d start a charitable foundation of my own.”
Mr Mitchell’s bucket list:
1 – Help 60 armed forces personnel before I die by arranging holidays
and anything which will help them and their families.
2 – Make 500 deserving childrens’ wishes come true and continue to
help those I’ve already worked with.
3 – Getting to the North Pole via specialist truck with the aim of
raising thousands for A Ray of Sunshine, Help for Heroes, and
Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
4 – Climbing Mont Blanc to raise money for the same charities.
5 – A sponsored abseil Prince Andrew-style down The Shard, in London.
6 – A sponsored sky-dive.