Parents mourn daughter's death by living out her dreams

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- Along a busy road in Chico, Calif., there's a memorial to a young college student. She was killed while riding her bike by an alleged drunk driver. Kristina Chesterman was just 21-years-old. She was going to be a nurse, but she had a lot of other dreams that no one really knew about, until a few months ago, when her mom and dad went to clean out her old apartment.

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A memorial for Kristina Chesterman who was killed by an alleged drink driver.

"I opened up a drawer and I found just this make-up bag," says her mom Sandra.

Sandra says there was no make-up. Instead, in that zippered compartment, she found a single sheet of notebook paper: Kristina's bucket list.

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Kristina Chesterman's bucket list

"I mean what kid writes a bucket list? There's not many," says Sandra.

Kristina probably wrote it in high school.

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Sandra Chesterman
We asked if she would read some of the list.

"She wanted to tour Niagara Falls. Save someone's life, which she did that, many times over," she says. "By donating her organs, she saved lives. This next one makes me laugh. She wanted to break up a fight between two guys over her, which I think is so cute. And I don't know that it ever happened, but it should have."

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David Chesterman
When Sandra and her husband David found the list, they say they knew exactly what they had to do.

"Because she didn't get to do this, we wanted to complete it for her," says David.

A few weeks ago they crossed Niagara Falls off their daughter's bucket list. They've taken flying lessons and run through a field of poppies.

But here's the best part: Sandra and David aren't the only ones going through Kristina's list right now. After posting it on Facebook, thousands of people, most of them total strangers, started doing it too.

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Strangers have been accomplishing Kristen's bucket list.

Although Sandra cries every time she reads about someone else's new adventure. She and David are still so thankful their daughter turned out to be such an inspiration.

"I think that it is just amazing that she could have that effect on someone who never even knew her," says David.

"It's hard still to get up in the morning, but this is what does it. This is what gets me up," adds Sandra.

Obviously, their brand of sightseeing is no vacation. But they say remembering their daughter's zest for life is a whole lot better than the futility of trying to forget it.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.

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