Irving student, dying of bone cancer, shares 'bucket list'



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Posted on October 24, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 25 at 2:36 AM

IRVING — Oscar Gomez has a fatal bone cancer, and at just 17 years old, he has a "bucket list."

We helped him check off one item on that list by sharing with you his message about appreciating each day.

It all started with an essay, assigned by Irving teacher Ruth Amy Schoen.

"Have you ever heard of a 'bucket list?' Things you want to do before you die? Well I do, and I have several wishes," Gomez wrote. "I realized we need to live to the fullest, because we don't know when our time will come."

The disease has already taken his leg and it is infecting his lungs.

But the heart of Oscar Gomez has never been stronger.

"I feel like I'm full of life, actually," he said.

Which is why, for Schoen, reading Gomez' wish list hit hard. "It really was like this has to happen, it has to happen," she said.

Many dreams on the list are simple: To ski; to sky dive; and to take off in a hot air balloon.

"The thrill of heights is a big thing for me; the higher, the better," Gomez wrote.

With that in mind, Schoen helped cross one item off his list: To fly a plane at night.

"Throughout the whole year, I've learned to keep my hope up and keep my faith up," Gomez said.

At school, that means he keeps a low profile; most classmates don't even know he is sick.

"I don't like that feeling of sympathy, and I don't want to use it as an excuse to not get up every day and go to school," Gomez said.

So why now share with us this story he's kept such a secret? It's another item on his bucket list: To remind all of us how precious life is.

"If I can get it out there, it can touch someone, be inspirational," he said.

That realization comes to us courtesy of one high school writing assignment.

"It inspired me to actually want to get out there and do them instead of writing them down and thinking about them," he said.

Oscar's story has also had an impact on teacher Ruth Amy Schoen.

"It's why I do what I do; whether it's a small scale or larger scale, it's why we're meant to be teachers," she said.

Oscar Gomez shared his entire wish list with us. It includes going to the World Series; riding in a hot air balloon; and going white water rafting.

He also hopes to travel to Spain, see a Super Bowl, play an adventure sport, and spend a day at the spa with his mom.