22 March 2018

“Always be kind.”

The beautiful legacy of 19-year old India Wilkinson has been touching hearts around the world.

Enjoy it ALL

India, from Pixley, near Ledbury in Herefordshire, was living with a brain tumour when she made an incredible short film that has moved people to tears and made them think about the truly important things in life.

In her three minute film, called Inside My Head, India shares what matters most when time becomes precious with the people you love best – and reminds us how every single moment we have is precious.

“Live in the now”

“Take risks together.”

“ENJOY IT ALL”

India's take risks card

India had her heart set on taking up an offer to study chemistry at St Andrew’s University, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour in January 2016.

Although she had surgery to remove the cancer, it impaired her ability to read, write, walk and talk.

Determined to live every moment and with the support of her mum, Zinnia dad Kester, and sister, Liberty, India travelled the world and even did a breathtaking skydive, which raised thousands of pounds for Brain Research UK.

India and her family on holidayIndia, above left, had exhilarating adventures with her family

“I really want to do skydiving so that we can reduce the possibility of pain and sorrow for others, in the future,” she said.

Although she’d been devastated not to be able to take up her place at university, India focused on channelling her abilities and new skills she developed after her surgery.

Her creative flair flourished, when she took on a part-time job at a traditional Victorian-style printing workshop, Ledbury Letterpress, where she began making amazing greetings cards.

India in the print shop

“Before my surgery I never told people what went on inside my head,” India explains in her film.

“Now I have to talk to everyone about what goes on inside my head. So I’m expressing myself in print.”
One of her cards features a quote from Doctor Who.

“We are all stories in the end,” it says.

“Just make it a good one.”

India holding up a message card inspired by Doctor Who

Sadly, despite India’s surgery, cancer cells continued to grow.

She was admitted to St Michael’s Hospice in Bartestree, Hereford, in October 2017, where she began selling her hand-printed cards to raise money for the hospice. And the hospice helped her to make her touching and poetic film, which has now been watched by more than 17,000 people around the world.

“Science is incredible, happiness is a quiet dog walk. The pain that hurts me most is when it’s felt by the people I love,” India said.

India died on December 11, 2017. Her beautiful film was shared with family and friends at the memorial service she had carefully planned, with help from the new friends she made at St Michael’s.

Framed photos of India and her family on a memorial table

“India’s dignity and her ability to come to terms with a terminal illness gave the whole family strength to cope,” said her mum, Zinnia.

India’s inspirational message has also moved thousands of people she never met to share, feel blessed, make memories and, in her words, be kind.

“Always be kind,” she reminds us.

“Because we never know what’s inside someone’s head.”

The final frame of India's video in  memoriam

  • If you’re inspired by India’s message, there are many ways you can enjoy the moment, take risks together and support St Michael’s Hospice. From abseiling down Ledbury’s stunning Eastnor Castle, to running a rainbow 5K, find out how you can get involved and make memories together – or remember someone you loved.