Next Running Event
Aramco Houston Half Marathon, January 14, 2018 – the story behind this event will be coming soon.
2018 Aramco Houston Half Marathon
About This Amazing Young Woman
Rebecca “Becca” Parker was born on September 26, 2000 in Georgetown, Texas to Travis & Brandy Parker. She was the first grandchild on both her parents side.
If you ever met Rebecca “Becca” Parker it was clear she was proud of her family and her love for East Texas (especially her family’s hometown of Tatum). The smile on Becca’s face as she spoke about her passion of art, religion, cat, would brightened the entire room. The natural glow of Becca’s beauty was a site to behold; when she spoke her comments were sincere and from the heart. She was quick witted; her humor was lovable and her laugh adorable. She was proud of her beliefs, her friends, her family, her faith, and what she wanted to accomplish in life. The strength of Becca’s spirit was astounding; her physical heart though extremely weak & sick. Becca suffered from cardiomyopathy; a life threatening heart disease. Despite the sickness thru her life Becca stood firm to her beliefs and wanted to make the most of life whenever she could, even when the medicines and restrictions increased to significant amounts. It did not matter whether Becca was at home, with friends, or at the hospital; she could always find something to color and bring laughs to those around her. Becca lived and accomplished more in the 16 years of her life than sadly what I have yet to even accomplish at the age of 40. I am very proud to be your father and what you accomplished with your life. – Daddy
Here is Becca’s story, I hope by sharing she is as impactful on your life as she has been for ours.
Becca’s parents were married in ’97; Travis (20) & Brandy (18) and lived in Longview, TX. As with any young newlywed work and college would be difficult but at least were fortunate to land work at promising companies and had begun advancing positions within. Unfortunately the good positions in East Texas were limited & rarely available. Outside of work finding things to do in East Texas can be challenging at times; trying to do so on a very restrictive budget did not leave many choices. After two years the chance finally came; an opening had posted in Round Rock, a suburb of the booming Capital of Austin. The transfer was approved. This was the perfect opportunity for work; plus living so close to Austin we could enjoy the city life while young. The plan was to have fun for about three years or so and then settle down to raise a family. It was the perfect idea; within a week we were moving into a new apartment in Georgetown, TX but was still close to work.
Things were going good; Brandy had landed a new position at a vet, we were making new friends, business was good, and the city life was fun. After three months though you would think we would get bored or had enough….nah; we were young!! We would come to find out though that someone thought otherwise and proceed to let Brandy know by sending her to the stall for several mornings. Our perfect plan was quickly discarded. One pee test led to several doctor visits, countless ultrasounds, and endless Lamaze classes. 36 weeks later Becca made her introduction; our lives would never be the same. It wasn’t the first plan we had when we moved to town but by far the perfect one. Somehow we did it and had a beautiful baby girl as proof; all was good…. at least for the first two weeks.
During Becca’s two week checkup the pediatrician heard a faint murmur that was not detected in the previous examinations. The murmur was too faint to distinguish; Becca was quickly referred to Austin’s Children’s Cardiology and examined. After all the tests Brandy and I anxiously waited for the results. The doctor came to the room, sat down, and began explaining the news we did not want to hear; our daughter was sick.
After a series of tests and consults the chest echo (ultrasound) revealed Becca had three different forms of heart disease including two Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD), one Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), and a Bicuspid Aortic Valve (two-leaflet valve) instead of the normal three-leaflet valve (tricuspid). Her cardiologist was optimistic about the treatment plan and her heart conditions could be managed mostly thru medication and routine checkups; it was the consensus the two VSD’s would close naturally as Becca grew older but the ASD was too large and in a position that would require surgery to correct. The ASD was not affecting her bloodflow so the doctors felt it would be best to wait on the surgery until she was older and her body was larger, most likely around the age of 8, to make the surgery easier. Although the doctor was optimistic about the news he had delivered, both Brandy and I were devastated but we have a daughter to raise. We adapted; Becca would begin seeing her cardiologists on a regular basis & medication would possibly become the way of life.
After two years the treatment plan was still routine visits and there were no clear signs telling us anything differently, and the doctors were happy with Becca’s test results. Things were getting a little to calm around the house so we decided Becca needed a playmate. In 2003 she became a big sister to her brother Connor; however Connor’s childbirth did not go as smoothly as Becca’s.
Connor was born early at 35 weeks, as a result his lungs were not fully developed. Less than 4 hours after being born Connor was transported from Georgetown Hospital to the NICU Unit at St David’s in Austin. Parents naturally want to be with their newborn child after birth, but this becomes difficult when the infant is transported to a separate hospital and mom is left admitted at the original. Fortunately the doctor’s knew better than to keep the lioness away from her cub; because she had Connor naturally they were able to expedite Brandy’s release within hours after Connor was moved. Six hours after giving childbirth naturally Brandy was driven to St David’s so she could see Connor but there was another hurdle. Brandy could use a wheelchair to get to the NICU entrance but could not take it inside because of sanitation issues. Instead, she would have to walk into the unit if she wanted to see him. My memory escapes me but I seem to recall a sneer or chuckle from Brandy when the nurse told her; nothing was going to stop Brandy that day.
Up to this point there was nothing alarming with Becca’s condition; Connor being admitted into the NICU was the most serious situation we had faced as a family. As tough as transporting Connor to the NICU and making arrangements for Brandy to see him, actually leaving the NICU was far worse. A parent’s natural instinct is to have your baby in the hospital room together & then leave to go home together as a family – that’s everyone’s plan right? Wrong! Although NICU’s are super accommodating one of the hardest part of the NICU experience is your leaving your child behind at the hospital. NICU’s by design are not the most accommodating for parents and should not be; the child’s health is top priority. it is a hard realization to accept that it is not possible to stay and at some point you must leave, after all there is nothing you can do & you don’t want to be in the nurses way. We were fortunate; after treating Connor’s lungs with steroids he quickly recovered and then began to put back on weight; overall he was in the NICU for two weeks and then released to go home.
. Despite all the events that happened, one thing would occur that we did not realize the significance for several years down the road. During childbirth the doctor saw the heart rate monitor for Mom react but was unsure what happened; as a precaution Mom was referred to an adult Cardiologist for a checkup. Connor would spend two weeks in the NICU before he was discharged; Brandy scheduled herself a consult with the Cardiologist. During the consult the doctor reviewed the charts from Connor’s delivery but did not see anything concerning; Brandy was told to watch herself and if she sensed anything odd to come in to get checked but otherwise she was fine.
Not long after we decided to move from Austin to Nacogdoches to be closer to our family. Although we moved away Becca continued receiving care thru Children’s Cardiology in Austin since they had been handling her case since birth. To help make ends meet Brandy was hired on as a Teller at Texas Bank in Henderson. A couple months into this position Brandy passed out unexpectedly at work and had to be taken to the hospital; ultimately she was transferred to Trinity Mother Francis in Tyler and staying a week admitted in their Cardiology wing. The results however were inconclusive and the doctors could not determine the cause. She was discharged but told again to watch herself and to come back if anything seemed odd.
Later at the age of 6 her family moved later she became After moving to Houston from East Texas with her parents and little brother (Connor) Becca attended Robison Elementary and then Spillane Middle School. She became very active in the orchestra, playing the violin, and she developed a love for drawing and painting in her art classes. She always loved art which started as a hobby but soon became a passion and talent that formed a huge part of her life.
During this time, doctors soon determined that Becca had Left Ventricular Non-Compaction Cardiomyopathy. She was immediately put on medication in hopes that her condition could be treated with medicine alone. After Becca had 2 cardiac arrests, the team of doctors decided medication was not sufficient, and she was placed on the Heart Transplant list in November of 2015. While waiting for her new heart, Becca joined Shield Christian Co-op, a homeschool group where she formed so many lasting friendships, not just with her peers, or younger kids, but with so many incredible teachers. She loved going to classes and teen events. The relationships that grew this past year filled her life with so much happiness. Travis and Brandy will always be grateful for everyone who is part of the Shield family. After six long months, on June 15, 2016, she received the life-saving call with a donor heart!!! We praise God every day for the gift she was given with her transplant.
After her transplant, the past 9 and a half months have been a gift from God. Becca got to do so many things that she previously was unable to do. She went on the vacation she always dreamed of to Disney World (which she loved so much), on a Disney Cruise, and to Universal Studios. While at Disney World, she met her favorite Disney Princess, Belle, for dinner, rode every roller-coaster she wanted, and ran a 5k race with her dad, mom and brother. Becca went to the homecoming dance with her boyfriend, Cameron Blanco, and danced without any restrictions. She even had the energy to stay up late and talk to and hang out with friends afterwards. Becca tried-out and was selected for Tomball Christian Warriors Cheerleading squad for the 2017 Football season. She was able to do all the things she wanted to but could not do previously: run, jump, swim, ride roller-coasters, travel and just live life to the fullest!
There is no telling where our family would have ended up had we stuck with the original plan of waiting to start a family; instead God blessed our family with a previous gift two newlyweds had no idea how to handle. By trusting in God’s plan Becca’s pedestrian diagnosed with a heart murmur on her two week checkup and got her admitted to Austin’s Children’s Cardiology where would be overseen and treated for several years. Had her parents not moved from East Texas to Austin there is a high probability Becca’s condition would have gone undiagnosed; as a result of God’s plan she was diagnosed very early in life and treated thru her childhood with the experts she needed to treat her medical condition. Although we will never understand God’s plan for us; looking back over the life Becca lived we do see glimpses of His plan and how he was watching over one of His children.V
Time…the most precious thing we wish we could have more of but at the same time we are extremely blessed for any extra moments we can spend together before losing a loved one. As with any young parents we quickly learned family plans were likely to change without any advanced warning or notice; we would try to create new plans for our family to cope or handle but soon realized when it came to Becca God had a different plan for her. Our family accepts God’s plan for Becca; we are deeply heart broken and saddened His plan for her was not a long as we would have wanted. During our time of grief; one of the most comforting words spoken to our family was “Becca’s work on Earth is done; now God needs her more”. As hard as these words are to accept I believe this is true for Becca; God needed her more than we needed her on Earth. Here is her story
We all hope for a love to come into our lives that will forever change us. A love that is completely selfless, a love that will make others stop to watch. If you knew Becca, you knew Cameron. Becca wasn’t complete without Cameron. So many people dismissed the sincerity of the commitment these two had for each other, but if you ever saw how they looked at each other, there was no doubting the purity of their love. Cameron’s commitment to Becca never wavered; he never questioned it. No matter what was going on, Cameron stood by her and would stay with her at the hospital as much as possible. He never saw a sick girl, he only saw a beautiful creation. He saw Becca the way Christ saw her, so much so that on the last day she was with us, Cameron sat by her hospital bed, and he asked her the question he always knew he would ask. Even though she couldn’t answer, we know what her answer would have been. Travis and Brandy are so thankful that Becca experienced loved in this way, and Cameron’s parents, Javier and Taunya Blanco, are so thankful that Becca loved Cameron the same way in return.
Becca loved so big and completely, everyone who met her was fully affected by her smile and her love for others. Becca wasn’t just a sweet girl, she was the type of girl you wanted to be around, not because she was cool or popular, but because she was so confident in who she was and who she was in Christ. She had natural beauty. Her legacy is love, and we will honor her by loving like Christ.
On March 9, 2017, Becca’s body started to reject her donor heart. She went to look upon the face of Jesus on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. Though her life on this earth is now complete, her story and love will always remain and grow strong in all whom she touched.
Travis and Brandy would like to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff at Texas Children’s Hospital, Spillane Middle School, and Shield Christian Co-op for their incredible love, care and service that afforded the precious additional days they were allowed to spend with Becca.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
This is should be a prospective customer’s number one call to action, e.g., requesting a quote or perusing your product catalog.