Rebecca Buchanan Brimmage
Rebecca Buchanan Brimmage
  • March 20, 1999 - December 27, 2017
  • Dallas, Texas

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Rebecca loved a good story, and here is our attempt to tell the story of her too short but well-lived life. Rebecca was born in the late evening on March 20, 1999 in Dallas, Texas. She arrived on time and without complications or fanfare, just as we would learn to expect of her. She was the first grandchild on one side of the family and the first granddaughter on the other side, and she was absolutely adored and spoiled rotten. Despite having a whole platoon of adults catering to her every whim, she was the most even-tempered and well-behaved child. It is no exaggeration to say that we were stopped in the streets by strangers who complimented her manners and behavior.

Rebecca attended elementary school at University Park Elementary School where she made many friends she would keep close for the rest of her life. She then attended Highland Park Intermediate and Middle Schools and subsequently graduated from Highland Park High School in 2017. Rebecca truly enjoyed and excelled at school. She had a passion for math and science and hoped to become a doctor-the first one in a family of lawyers. Rebecca was thrilled when she was accepted into Georgetown University and looked forward to living in D.C. and enjoying a bright future.

Unfortunately, Rebecca's future was cut short. She had been diagnosed with metastatic Ewing's Sarcoma one week after her sixteenth birthday and had endured over six different chemotherapy regimens and clinical trials and copious amounts of radiation in an effort to be cured. Tragically, the cancer could not be stopped and she passed away at the age of 18 on December 27, 2017 at her home, surrounded by her loving family.

That is the short story of Rebecca's life. But, there was so much more to her and the 18 years she lived.

Rebecca was the oldest of four children and a wonderful big sister to Elizabeth (16), Trey (14), and Catherine (7). She enjoyed mentoring and advising them, even if they were not always willing recipients of her wisdom. When Rebecca's health kept her confined to her room, the four of them would often hang out together, laying in her bed or on the floor, laughing and teasing, telling stories and singing songs, often while Catherine danced. Rebecca was the enforcer of our family traditions. She loved family time at the lake for Fourth of July, family fondue parties at Christmas, Sunday Brunch at our table at the Club, and the weeklong birthday celebrations every member of our family receives. She loved to pray with her littlest sister and taught her how to say the Lord's Prayer.

Rebecca was unbelievably curious. Long after the rest of us had moved on from a subject, she would circle back to get more details or information about whatever we were discussing. She loved to hear the smallest facts and details of our day and often asked questions that led us to appreciate more about what had happened than we originally noticed. She enjoyed meeting new people (aka fresh meat). During her endless hospital stays, she would spend hours examining the doctors, nurses, techs, and anyone else who happened in her room about their families, education, favorite restaurants, etc. But, Rebecca was so friendly and easy to talk with, people willingly answered all of her questions. She would have been a wonderful CIA operative.

Rebecca loved the beach and was fortunate to have visited some of the most beautiful beaches in the world in Florida, Bahamas, California, Hawaii, Mexico, Tahiti, Greece, Montenegro, and Italy. For a pale, white girl, she could log some serious time on a lounge chair in the sun. She loved to travel and considered New York City her second home. While her father worked, Rebecca and her sister Elizabeth, armed with a subway map and credit card, would sightsee and shop all over the city, including at least one memorable trip to the back halls of Canal Street.

Rebecca was very comfortable with herself and confident in who she was. She picked her friends wisely and had many circles of close friends who lifted her up and supported her. Many of Rebecca's friends and their parents tell us that Rebecca was the voice of reason and they are grateful for Rebecca's influence. Rebecca never had to be told to do her homework, get good grades, come home on time, or make good choices-she was born with maturity and good judgment. But, Rebecca was not boring. She was a wonderful story teller, funny and insightful, and she loved to laugh. Even when she felt awful, she still smiled and remained positive. Because of her nature and attitude, people were drawn to her. People showed up, called, texted, made her feel included even when she could not be there, and loved her, even when the chemotherapy made her so sick she would throw up on them or in their cars. When she was in the hospital and couldn't make it to the Senior prom where she was elected Queen, her friends brought the crown to her at the hospital. Rebecca was never isolated or alone in her illness, even as she hid the severity of her disease from others.

Rebecca felt a calling to help others, whether serving on mission trips in Florida, Louisiana or Texas through her church or spending Saturday mornings volunteering with her sister at The Stewpot through her National Charity League work. Rebecca knew that she was incredibly fortunate and was very disturbed by the challenges many of the other cancer patients she met faced and was heartbroken that a family with a child facing cancer may also have to worry about feeding the rest of their family. Rebecca spoke at several fundraisers, including 1M4A and Make-A-Wish, to assist charitable organizations raise money for children in need. During the last month of her life, when she was so weak and sick, Rebecca still found the energy to use the resources she had accumulated during her life to provide food,