A 17-year-old completed her bucket list in the most selfless way possible when she tragically died saving her best friend’s life.
Rebecca Townsend, from Connecticut, U.S, composed a short list of things to do before she died – 1. Go to Spain; 2. Kiss in the rain; 3. Save a life.
She had already completed the first two goals by the time she graduated from school this year, but before she could go away to college Rebecca reportedly fulfilled the final goal on her list, pushing her friend out of the path of an oncoming car, before being hit and killed herself.
Rebecca had previously completed a school assignment to write a letter to her future self, which included the three point bucket list. Upon graduation, Rebecca’s bucket list letter was returned to her – and it is thought that she had been reading it when she left it out on her bed on July 2.
That night, she went to watch fireworks in a nearby town. Around 9pm, after the show, she was crossing the street with her friend Benjamin when a car sped toward them. Rebecca pushed Benjamin out of the way but, sadly, she was struck by the car and died, just as she had fulfilled the final item on her list.
Police are still investigating the incident.
Rebecca’s family said the selfless act was in keeping with her character and she had a reputation for doing charity work. Rebecca was the founder of her high school’s chapter of She’s the First, a non-profit organisation which sponsors education for girls in developing countries. She also volunteered for the educational program Head Start.
Her cousin Rachel wrote:
This story could be about loss, but vibrant and happy Rebecca would prefer it be about love. So take a moment and hug the person you don’t always hug, and then do it again. And then say ‘I love you’ to the person you don’t usually tell, and then say it again. Because we are many, many days over 17, and each day we get a chance to say ‘I love you’ to the ones we love is a blessing.
On a page set up in memory of the teenager, her family have encouraged others to keep her “spirit alive” by being kind to others, whether by volunteering or donating to a cause.
They’ve asked others to share photos and stories of themselves “paying it forward” with the hashtag #RememberingRebecca.
Meanwhile, the late teenager’s family is taking some comfort in the fact that Rebecca achieved what she had set out to do in life.
Her older sister Monica added:
Who knows why Rebecca was looking at that letter the night she left us. But I think it’s her little way of telling us she is okay; she accomplished what she needed to; she made it.