Rebecca Townsend was like most high school seniors. She had plenty of friends and celebrated her last summer with them before she was set to head to Notre Dame for school in the fall. But unlike many high schoolers, Rebecca completed her bucket list — to save a life — and sacrificed her own in the process.
According to the News-Times, a car struck and killed Rebecca on July 2, 2015 as she crossed the street after watching fireworks with her friend, Benjamin Arne. A cousin of Rebecca's told BuzzFeed News that Ben told her the last thing he remembers is Rebecca is pushing him and telling him to hurry up.
It wasn't until later, when Rebecca's family cleaned out the 17-year-old's room, that they realized their loved one completed the last item on her bucket list: saving a life.
They found the list included in a letter Rebecca wrote to herself in 2012. Besides saving a life, she also wanted to kiss in the rain and fly to Spain — all things she was able to do before she passed.
The note read in full:
So I guess I'm a senior now (wow that didn't come out cool. I'm not cool…oops) Well, hi. Currently I'm a little sophomore. I'm five foot two, I weigh 98 pounds. Maybe I'll grow a little bit in the next two years...
So I haven't had a boyfriend yet, sadly. I really hope by senior year I'll have a cute one (I'm not being shallow, he should be cute…as a plus). I think I want to go to college in a city, maybe I'll go to Fordham or Boston College.
Let's see…memories? I don't really have any worth sharing. I'm glad I'm more self-confident this year. Last year, some people were pretty mean to me…Hey, maybe by now they will have stopped. Well, I hope I keep having good grades for the next years.
o Kiss in the rain
o Fly to Spain
o Save a life
Yeah, I don't know what I want to do before I die. So my friends right now are Sammy, Jess, Emily, Drew, Lauren, Emma, Andrea and Katie. My best friends not at this school are Molly, Devrie and Anna. I love the play and the volleyball team. I really want to be in one of our school musicals. Or get a lead in the play. Well this was homework and I'm doing this the day of…oops. Maybe by the time I read this I'll stop procrastinating HAHAHA. Like that would happen.
Love, Past Rebecca
But her legacy is far from over.
Loved ones began a Remembering Rebecca Facebook page in her honor to continue her legacy using the hashtag, #RememberingRebecca.
"Whether paying for a meal, volunteering time, or donating to a cause, we all have the opportunity to pay it forward every day, just as Rebecca strived to do," they wrote in a post.
The family declined to comment when A Plus reached out.
And so that's exactly what people began to do. From random acts of kindness in her honor ...
To paying it forward ...
Her graduating class at Notre Dame even set up a GoFundMe to raise money for Rebecca's nonprofit of choice, She's The First — a charity that raises money for young girls' education.
In just eight days they've surpassed their goal.
It appears that people from near and far are doing what Rebecca would have done: be kind.
In her eulogy, which is posted on the Facebook page, Rebecca's sister made sure not to forget them:
What an insightful, funny, quirky, and sensitive little girl. To my parents, thank you for taking her to Spain. To the Drama club, thank you for including her in all your countless productions. To Notre Dame, thank you for accepting her and validating all of her hard work—even if South Bend was not quite the city she had in mind. To her teachers, thank you for assigning her homework like this. To her friends, thank you for being her greatest supporters even during her toughest times in high school. To Niko, thank you for being the cute boyfriend she could kiss in the rain. And to Ben, thank you for letting her save a life.
Thank you, Rebecca, for everything.