During her sophomore year of high school, Rebecca Townsend wrote a bucket list with three goals: Kiss in the rain, fly to Spain, and save a life. The list was a part of a school assignment that had Townsend write a letter to her senior-year self. In the letter, she also wrote about other totally normal teen interests and aspirations –friendships, favorite activities, finding a cute boyfriend, and getting a just little bit better at procrastinating.
And over the next few years, the Connecticut teen achieved the first two of her bucket list goals: She kissed her boyfriend in the rain. She went on a family trip to Spain with her parents. She also graduated from Immaculate High School in Connecticut last spring, and was set to attend Notre Dame in the fall. Townsend’s future was looking brighter and brighter. But, on July 2nd, while walking back from a fireworks show with her friend, Ben Arne, Townsend was fatally hit by a car after pushing Arne out of the way and saving his life.
In honor of this incredibly selfless and wonderful young woman, Townsend’s family has started “Remembering Rebecca,” a Facebook group encouraging people to keep her memory alive by practicing what she valued most: kindness. According to the group, her sisters and cousins discovered Townsend’s letter (and bucket list) atop her bed while sitting in her room, “as if laid out for [them.]”
“It was a little sign that she was ok,” Townsend’s sister, Victoria, told Buzzfeed News.
Using the hashtag #RememberingRebecca, people have been performing acts of kindness in Townsend’s honor — from paying for strangers’ coffees to setting up blood drives.
“Rebecca was passionate about service work and charities, constantly working to better the lives of others,” the Facebook page reads. “For this reason, we have made this page where people can share a memory or document ways they have kept Rebecca’s spirit alive by showing kindness to others. Whether paying for a meal, volunteering time, or donating to a cause, we all have the opportunity to pay it forward every day, just as Rebecca strived to do.”
To date, the page has over 19,000 likes — and the support and love she’s received feels infinite.
“It means a lot to me that’s she’s living on in people’s hearts and people’s minds,” Victoria told Buzzfeed News.
Townsend’s cousin, Rachel Hofstetter, said, “… really the most important part of it, is Rebecca was full of love — and we have so many opportunities to show this love.”
Today, we’re #RememberingRebecca and choosing kindness. Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this incredibly difficult time.