Kind stranger helps Whitney to tick dream off of her bucket list

Billy Cornish with the Download Festival tickets he has donated to Whitney Hacket   Picture:  Malcolm Wells (180506-3470)
Billy Cornish with the Download Festival tickets he has donated to Whitney Hacket Picture: Malcolm Wells (180506-3470)
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A TEENAGER battling stage four bowel cancer has thanked a Portsmouth man for helping her tick a milestone off of her bucket list.

Billy Cornish, 21, was given a five-day ticket to Download Festival for his birthday.

Whitney Hackett and her mum Sara James

Whitney Hackett and her mum Sara James

When he realised the event clashed with a friend’s wedding, he took to the festival’s Facebook page.

It was here he discovered a post from Whitney Hackett, a 19-year-old from Hartshorne, Derbyshire. Whitney’s post detailed her diagnosis and a bucket list, which included wanting to go to Japan, appear on the Jeremy Kyle show and visit Download Festival.

Yesterday, in the hot weather, Billy and his dad drove to Derbyshire to deliver the tickets personally.

He said: ‘It was wonderful meeting Whitney.

‘As soon as I saw her post I wanted to help. I hope she has a brilliant time and that others can help her to achieve the rest of her bucket list.’

In August 2017, Whitney began experiencing water infections and back pain.

After being prescribed various painkillers and antibiotics, a scan in late October revealed a lump.

Whitney said: ‘I’d been told that, due to my age, it couldn’t be anything serious. But my great grandma died of bowel cancer. It should’ve been in their notes.’

Following a biopsy, Whitney and her mother Sara met with the doctor to discuss the results. She added: ‘November 7 is a date I’ll never forget.

‘They told us its stage four bowel cancer and I’m not going to get better. My mum broke down into tears.

‘I’ve since moved from Burton Queens Hospital because my treatment wasn’t good enough.

‘My mum and nan had once asked a nurse how long I had left to live and she snapped: “Don’t bother making plans after Christmas because she won’t be here.”

‘A doctor later apologised, explaining that I have a special form of cancer which means that they don’t know how long I have left.’

Now Whitney is being treated at a hospital in Nottingham. She said: ‘The cancer has spread to my kidneys, lungs and stomach lining, but the chemo seems to be attacking all of it.’

In October friends set up a fundraising page for Whitney. They money raised enabled her to travel to Japan last week.

She said: ‘I’m so grateful for what Billy has done.

‘I know it’s a lot of money for these tickets so it has blown me away that he’s willing to give me this gift. I’ll be sending him lots of photos of us to show him that I’m having a good time.’

Whitney credits her ‘wonderful mum’ Sara and boyfriend Jamie Bee for being her rocks.

She added: ‘It’s their love that gets me through.

‘If it weren’t for them I don’t know what I would’ve done. Going to Japan was a dream come true and I cannot wait for Download in June!’

Whitney said: ‘If you’ve got the slightest worry, get checked immediately. I don’t care if you’re five or 70.

‘Grab it early instead of being told at a young age that your life is going to be cut short.

‘I’m taking things one day at a time and I’m grateful for the help of people like Billy and the love of my mum and boyfriend. That’s what’s really important.’