17-year-old Laura Carney completes dad’s bucket list after her father is killed

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In 2003, Laura Carney’s 54-year-old father Mickey was killed by a 17-year-old girl who was using her phone while driving. Laura began to advocate about the dangers of “distracted driving,” but that wasn’t her only project to honor her father. 

In 2016, Laura and her brother found a list in Mickey’s handwriting listing 60 “Things I Would Like to Do in My Lifetime!”

Their father had completed just 5, including “Do a comedy monologue in a nightclub,” “See a World Series game live,” and “Help my parents enjoy their retirement.” 

Laura decided she would experience the remaining 55. 

“I knew what I was doing seemed impossible. But it was the main reason I had to try,” Carney writes in “My Father’s List: How Living My Dad’s Dreams Set Me Free” (Post Hill Press). 

Laura doggedly made her way through the list, including “Going to the Super Bowl,” the Rose Bowl and seeing the NCAA basketball finals. She travelled to New Orleans, Las Vegas, London, and Vienna.

She even managed to “Talk with the President,” sharing pleasantries with former president Jimmy Carter at his Georgia church. 


My Father's List: How Living My Dad's Dreams Set Me Free by Laura Carney

There were challenges.

Laura did “Skydive at Least Once” but vomited on herself in the process.

She “Ran ten miles straight” at the L.A. marathon, but the physical stress resulted in unexpected urination. 

“Since starting the list, I was beginning to sense my dad’s spirit more often.”

Author Laura Carney

“I approached Rodeo Drive with streams of yellow down my legs,” Carney writes. 

Some she barely completed, her “Surf in the Pacific Ocean” consisting of 2 seconds atop a board at a Los Angeles beach. “Play … Guitar” meant learning a four-note riff of a Queen song and a couple sounds from the theme of “Jaws.” Her “Make money on the stock market” was checked after accruing a ten-cent profit. 

Other tasks were completed creatively, like “Play golf in the 70s a few times” (almost Tiger-Woods-level golf). Laura did it, although her “in the 70s” might not have been what her dad literally meant.

Once Carney recorded a 70 playing only 9 holes, not a full 18; another time she was shooting in the 70s but stopped though her round wasn’t complete; a third time she played when it was 70 degrees outside.

Laura didn’t think any of it was cheating though, as her quest continually connected her to the man she lost. 

“Since starting the list, I was beginning to sense my dad’s spirit more often,” she says. 

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