In two years, Rebecca’s life has changed dramatically.
But the 17-year-old will tell you – everything has happened for a reason.
A brain tumor halted the things she loves most: high school, cheerleading, weekend hangouts with friends…everything a teenage girl would consider “normal.”
Instead, Rebecca’s “normal” became brutal chemotherapy, a handful of life-saving procedures on an operating table and 18 months of treatments.
An endless routine. Good days turned bad. Bad days turned worse. Then, eventually, good days would return. Then, in 2014, Rebecca got the chance for a temporary escape. Make-A-Wish® Alabama granted her wish of traveling to Hawaii and visiting Pearl Harbor.
“The idea of warm beaches, travel and new adventures were enough to pick up her spirits at times when she was hooked up to IV drips of chemo and a room full of young sick, bald, ill patients all around her,” Rebecca’s mother, Wendy, said.
Wendy says Rebecca’s Hawaii trip in March 2014 was all she had hoped for and more. The family-of-four took in all the sights and sounds that they could.
“What an awesome job you all do in making a sick young girl’s dream vacation come true,” Wendy said.
Back home in Florence, Wendy says Rebecca’s treatments appear to have been successful and her tumor has stabilized and has even shrunk. Now, during her check-up visits to the local hospital, Rebecca is spreading the word about Make-A-Wish Alabama and the power of a wish.
“Becca is now able to promote your wishes to other sick children at the hospital and use that as encouragement in their treatments,” Wendy said.
“Wish children and wish families tell our story better than anyone and this is a true testament of that,” Make-A-Wish Alabama Director of Communications and Marketing, Bryant Somerville, said. “To be able to grant Rebecca a moment in time that she and her family will never forget is one thing, but to have her pick up the torch, and let it shine on, and to be a voice for our organization…that means more to us than anyone will ever know.”
Rebecca is continuing her treatment while doctors keep an eye on her tumor with the hopes it will remain stabilized. In the meantime, the high school senior is looking forward to her “normal” life with college planning, getting back on her cheerleading team at school and, of course, spreading the Make-A-Wish message wherever and whenever she can.
“[The Make-A-Wish] mission is one that is of immense importance as state of mind and the ability for these children to have something they would love to do, and be able to look forward to doing it gives them a chance to forget about some of their problems,” Wendy said.