"Mom, We have to tell everyone about it so they will know!" - Bekah
Bekah was always a healthy happy kid, never having more than just a cold, and living with her mom, Kris, a single, widowed mother. So it was devastating to learn, in September, 2012, at only 14 years old, Bekah had a large solid mass in her lower tummy, her tumor was as large as a football or a 4-5 month pregnancy and then was later diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Carcinoma. She endured so much in her first weeks after diagnosis. She was originally taken to the doctor due to not eating as one of her symptoms, so she eventually had to have a feeding tube. She endured three heavy, life-saving rounds of chemo in her short battle. Bekah did everything she was asked, even had some hesitation at times, but she did it. She wanted to live and survive what she knew deep down, to be a losing battle with an enemy she couldn’t see. One evening in October, she was afraid to go to sleep because she may not wake up. She made her mom promise “to bring me home if they say I will die. I don’t want to die in the hospital.” Kris promised.
During Bekah’s battle, she wanted to tell the world. Nobody knew what this was or what was happening. It wasn’t until it was too late did we notice any symptoms. Bekah & her mom created postcards with all of the signs and symptoms expected with Ovarian Cancer to tell everyone what to look for. Kris would send out these postcards as they were requested. Kris also sold Battle for Bekah bracelets and kept the Facebook world updated. Bekah & her mom were working hard together to spread the word. In November, 2012, they learned her cancer had spread with a vengeance. Doctors performed surgery on November 18th and found things were so advanced there was nothing more they could do. On November 19th, she was told the devastating news. After her short time of hurt & fear, she sat up and said, “I guess I have some plans to make”. The first thing she said was, “I want a white casket and I wanna be by Jerry.” Jerry was her second dad to whom she was very close, who had passed away suddenly just three years prior. Losing Jerry nearly destroyed Bekah, and he was the first place her mind went to with this news.
"In Memory of"- Under the watchful eye of many, Bekah passed away quietly in her “chair”. She fought hard, and she fought until her last breath. She died on 12-12-12 at 2:12am. In December 2012, Kris began to launch Bekah & Friends Foundation. The name chosen was to signify three parts starting with: Her Journey (Bekah), can’t do it without the help of others (Friends), and that the journey would continue after she was gone (Foundation). And, working tirelessly, it has! Kris has kept her promises to Bekah, which were made during nightly talks, while Bekah lived the rest of her days on earth. She has come far, with a long way to go…… The “Battle for Bekah” continues……….only now, in a different way.
"Bekah's Wishes"- Bekah began to cite “wishes” she had before her time here was over. Doctors felt Bekah had only days to live. Throughout the day, her wishes began to form a list such as: Be the Maid of Honor at her sisters wedding, Ride a horse once more, Drive a car, Meet Martina McBride, Sell 500 Battle for Bekah Tshirts.. etc. As her wishes began to come to light many of the hospital staff, family, and friends began working hard to grant these wishes for Bekah. November 20th was a big day for Bekah. Bekah’s sister, Torilyn, was to be married in the hospital chapel. Bekah was determined to walk down the aisle by herself. That morning Bekah’s mom, asked her if she was going to have enough strength to walk. Bekah’s response was, “I’ll find it”, and she did. She walked by herself down the aisle as her sister's Maid of Honor. It was a happy victory for Bekah. She was taken home by ambulance later that afternoon. Escorted on her final trip home by the “Guardian of the Ribbon” Pink Firetruck, she arrived with a wonderful crowd to greet her. Kris fulfilled her “promise” to bring Bekah home.
"Wishes Granted, Idea Began"- As Bekah got settled, the many medical supplies were mentioned, absentmindedly to the circumstances, that were now a fixture on her mother's kitchen table. Bekah said, “Give them to people who need help like people gave us stuff”. The idea of a Foundation then came up. Kris, already hiding a broken heart, felt it fall apart even more knowing that Bekah was thinking of helping others. In little bits the next couple weeks, Bekah spoke of the Foundation; she was the one who laid out the missions and premise for her Foundation. Putting this on the back burner, the family began working hard again to grant Bekah’s wishes. November 21, 2012, she got to drive a pickup. November 22, 2012, Martina McBride took the time to call Bekah on the phone. November 23, 2012, Star Riders brought a horse to a parking lot giving Bekah a little time to ride a horse once more. November 25, 2012 she received a phone call from James Van Der Beek, a distant cousin of hers, from her mother’s side. With the help of 3000+ supporters at the time on Facebook, Bekah’s wish of selling 500 t-shirts came true — selling 712 t-shirts before Bekah died. Bekah added a new wish a week later: getting her “Battle for Bekah” page to 5000 “likes”.