Thorpe St Andrew mother-of-two with terminal cancer working her way though her ‘bucket list’

Melanie Swan Horton with her daughters Leanne, left, and Maria at home in Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Bill Smith

Melanie Swan Horton with her daughters Leanne, left, and Maria at home in Thorpe St Andrew. Photo: Bill Smith

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A mother-of-two suffering from terminal cancer has seen her dreams come true thanks to family, friends and strangers after her ‘bucket list’ was posted on Facebook.

Melanie Swan Horton, 47, from Thorpe St Andrew, has fulfilled several lifetime ambitions – including learning to salsa, attending her first music festival and skinny dipping.

She wrote the ‘bucket list’ to help keep focused after she was given six months to live after a two-year battle with bowel cancer.

One of the items on her list was to wear a ball gown to a ball – and so now she has organised a fund-raising event at the Talk in Oak Street, Norwich, which she has been given for free for one night later this month.

She said: “There is capacity for 500 people and it will be £5 to get in to the Talk on that night. I want to sell as many tickets as possible to raise money for the Big C cancer charity to go towards beating bowel cancer. Lots of bands are playing on the night for free.”

The incredible response the Facebook page has received means Mrs Horton has ticked off more than half her ‘bucket list’ since friends posted it.

She said: “Skinny dipping was a bit naughty, but very funny. Luckily I ticked that off while fulfilling another wish to visit my parents in Cyprus, so it was a bit warmer. The music festival was brilliant. I needed a wheelchair because I couldn’t stand up all day, but it was still great fun.”

She’s also been gifted theatre tickets and spa treatments and been taken to several exclusive restaurants for meals out.

One of the highlights was a surprise champagne ride in a limousine organised by friends to coincide with her birthday.

The former Thorpe St Andrew High School pupil said: “It was a dream come true. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance. For a night I got to forget about the cancer and just had a brilliant time giggling with my twin daughters, Leanne and Maria, 25, and friends.

“We felt like stars being driven around the city in the limo sipping bubbly and the driver was fantastic. I’m so grateful that putting the ‘bucket list’ on Facebook has made it possible to create memories like this for my daughters.”

Among the items on the ‘bucket list’ that she has not been able to complete are a weekend break at a spa for herself, her children and a couple of friends, and to go sailing on the Norfolk Broads.

She added: “Recent blood tests have shown my liver is struggling, but I’m determined to keep ticking things off my list.

“It’s helping me keep strong and focused. I may have terminal cancer, but I’m determined to keep living my life while I can. I might not have long left, but what I do have left I want to be fun.

“These will be the last few weeks of my life and I want to live life to the maximum while I still can and really enjoy this time.

“I have down days when I get very scared about dying, but then I get a message saying someone else read the ‘bucket list’ and wants to help and it makes me feel strong again.”

As reported, Mrs Swan Horton, who was previously a project manager with charity Beat, was first diagnosed with bowel cancer when she was 44. She had suffered from bleeding, tiredness and changing bowel habits, but had put them down to her body building and diet.

She went through six months of chemotherapy, but then heard the terrible news that the cancer had spread to her liver.

She was due for an operation on the liver, but was told that it had spread to her lung, meaning another six months of chemotherapy was required.

It was this news that prompted a marriage to her partner Kristian, but the couple are no longer together.

The ball will be held at the Talk from 7 to 12pm on Friday, October 26. Tickets can be bought on the night or from the Talk on 01603 660220

For more information visit or

Do you know somebody who is bravely battling against the odds? Contact reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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