After Rebecca Townsend saved her friend from bearing the brunt of the car crash that killed her, the 17-year-old’s family found her bucket list that included, “Save a life.” (Photo: Facebook/Remembering Rebecca)
In her sophomore year of high school, Rebecca Townsend was given the assignment to write down a bucket list of what she wanted to accomplish in life. Her note is going viral online now in the wake of her death, after the 17-year-old was hit by a car in Danbury, Conn. on July 2 while crossing the street with pal Ben Arne, also 17.
“She had written down a 3-point bucket list: #1 Go to Spain. #2. Kiss in the rain. #3. Save a life,” her cousin Rachel Hofstetter writes on Facebook. “Over the next few years, she crossed #1 and 2 off her list. And on July 2nd, she crossed #3 of her list: She saved her friend’s life by pushing him out of the way of an oncoming vehicle, and in doing so sacrificed her own life.”
Rebecca Townsend (Photo: Instagram/Rememberingrebecca).
The Brookfield, Conn. high school grad, who was to begin college at Notre Dame University in the fall, was revealed as a hero after Arne was released from the hospital. Rebecca’s sister Victoria told Buzzfeed that he visited their family and told them that Rebecca had saved his life.
“He said, ‘The last thing I remember is Rebecca pushing me and telling me to hurry up,’” said Victoria, who adds that the Townsends found Rebecca’s list while reminiscing about her in her room. “It was a little sign that she was okay.” (Family members have since told Yahoo Parenting that the family is declining future interview requests so that they can grieve privately.)
But the late teen’s final gesture wasn’t the only way in which she left the world a little better than she found it. “Rebecca was passionate about service work and charities, constantly working to better the lives of others,” her family writes on a Facebook page, Remembering Rebecca, that they set up in tribute to her on July 5. They created the page, Hofstetter told BuzzFeed, to “remember Rebecca by going out and doing something that matters.”
To date, inspired strangers have bought others yoga classes and drinks at Starbucks, as well as set up blood drives as everyday acts of kindness. The class Rebecca would have joined at Notre Dame even set up a GoFundMe page to memorialize her, with funds going to She’s the First, a non-profit that woks to provide girls in low income countries education. It was a cause Rebecca supported and started a chapter for at her school.
Rebecca Townsend with her acceptance letter from Notre Dame University. (Photo: Instagram/Rememberingrebecca)
“This story could be about loss, but vibrant and happy Rebecca would prefer it be about love,” Hofstetter writes on Facebook. “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.”