Rebecca Schofield, shown in a photo from a GoFundMe set up in her honour, wants to spread some kindness.
RIVERVIEW, N.B. — Wishes abound this time of year, but one by a Riverview teen recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer is proof that some put others ahead of themselves.
While discussing her bucket list in a Dec. 15 post on her Facebook page Becca’s Battle with Butterscotch, Rebecca Schofield had a simple request for anyone reading it.
“No matter how young or old, rich or poor, no matter where in the world you are you can participate. I want to create a mass of acts of kindness! I want to get a worldwide trend on Twitter of #BeccaToldMeTo. It’s pretty simple. No matter who you are, if you see this message, please do an act of kindness for someone else.”
Rebecca, 17, thought she had beaten her cancer after a two-year battle, but doctors told her in early December they had discovered two new tumours, which are inoperable. She has been given three months to a year to live.
Vanessa Miller has never met anyone quite like Rebecca.
“Becca always has and always will think of others before herself,” says Miller, Rebecca’s summer camp counsellor. “She never gives up and goes out of her way to help others to make sure they don't, either. Whether it's cheering from the sidelines, offering much-needed advice, or cracking a joke to remind you not to take anything too seriously, Becca's got your back.”
Rebecca spent the past summer at Brigadoon Village’s Camp Goodtime, at Aylesford Lake in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. The camp is offered to children and youths between ages seven and 16 living with or beyond cancer or brain tumours.
In her Facebook postings, Rebecca even offered some suggestions on what people could do for others.
“It can be as big or small as you'd like. Donate to charity, volunteer your time, or even just do the dishes without your parents asking. Shovel someone's walkway or visit someone you know will be alone this holiday season.”
Since it was posted, there has been an outpouring of support for Rebecca’s online request. Many share their own acts of kindness on the Facebook page, from paying for someone else’s coffee, to donating blood for the first time, to paying for someone else’s groceries. And, of course, many have donated to a variety of charities.
Also apparent in the online posts is the respect people have for Rebecca’s courage throughout her battle with cancer. It’s especially evident in the way she’s maintained a sense of humour during her two-year fight. She named her initial tumour “Butterscotch”to make it less frightening. And, being a J.K. Rowling fan, she named the two inoperable tumours she learned about this month Snape and Umbridge, her least favourite Harry Potter characters.
“I would describe her as witty, sassy and endlessly optimistic; she's my rock star,” Miller says of Rebecca. “She's creative, innovative, caring, and incredibly strong. Becca has opened my eyes to the power of positivity and I will forever be grateful for that. She's the type of person who would bail on a dance party to go on a spontaneous adventure just to catch a sunset.”
Like others, Miller has honoured Rebecca’s request with her own simple acts of kindness.
“Every day I make it a point to complete an act of kindness for Becca as well as sharing her story with at least one new person.”
So far for Miller, it’s been little acts like donating to the local food bank, bringing warm drinks to community members who work outside, shovelling neighbours' driveways, “or writing letters to the people in my life who don't always get the appreciation they deserve.”
Rebecca finished her Dec. 15 Facebook post by writing:
“I'm announcing it (#BeccaToldMeTo) tonight so that it will begin on the last day of my radiation. So please, rally up and help make my wish to get this trending worldwide come true. The holiday season is a time for miracles!”