How a Mom’s Battle with Breast Cancer Inspired Her Family to Chase Their Dreams

04/06/17 By Beth Anne

Colleen inspired her family to live their dreamsWhen 51-year-old Colleen Smith passed away due to breast cancer last year, the world changed for her son, Gregory Smith, and her nephew, Nick Smith.

“Everything was just different,” Nick recalls. “We didn’t really know what to do.”

Until they came across her dream board – a collage of magazine cut-outs that represented things Colleen wanted to experience before passing away.

Inspired by Colleen’s appreciation for life and courage during her eight-year battle with breast cancer, the cousins got to work, tackling her bucket list one item at a time and posting their adventures on YouTube.

“When we were out doing item after item, things that I know she wanted to do, it felt like she was there with us,” says Gregory.

Nick and Gregory with their homemade raftThe duo’s adventure culminated in a rafting trip last summer. But, as they travelled down the Mississippi River in a homemade raft, they realized they didn’t have to stop there.

“We sat down with [friends] Owen and Kevin and we started putting together a list,” Nick says. “And we came up with 273 items that we wanted to do and then mixed them in with [Colleen’s].”

And so, “Don’t Blink,” was born. Gregory and Nick, along with their friends, chose eight items on the list to tackle that summer – ranging from “milk a cow” to “dance with Ms. Wisconsin.” 

They recorded their progress and developed a trailer for a TV series called “Don’t Blink,” which the team is planning to film this year. Currently, the group of friends is securing funding for the project, which received overwhelmingly positive feedback from local TV stations.

The series will follow the four friends as they carry on Colleen’s legacy by living their dreams, as well as hers.

The goal, Nick explains, is to inspire others to do the same.

Screenshot from Trailer for Don't Blink“Everyone has a bucket list, but who actually goes out and knocks off each item?” Nick says. “We want people to go out and do the things they always dreamed of doing.”

And those things don’t have to be monumental, like “fly to Italy,” or “climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.” The group just wants to inspire others -- like Colleen inspired them -- to see the beauty in life.

“My mom would always say, ‘life, in the grand scheme of things, is just five seconds -- its over in the blink of an eye,” Gregory recalls. “So we should live our best life now and be present in the moment because who knows what the future has in store for us.” 

To learn more about "Don't Blink" and view the trailer, click here!