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Aramco Houston Half Marathon, January 14, 2018 – the story behind this event will be coming soon.

2018 Aramco Houston Half Marathon

About This Amazon Young Woman

If you ever met Rebecca “Becca” Parker it was no secret her family was from East Texas and she considered that part of the state her home.  Before she was born though fate would move her parents from the small town of Tatum to the exploding Austin area where they planned on enjoying the city life for a few years before raising kids.  Apparently Becca’s country girl spirit decided she did not want to wait three years & her parents had enough “city life”; the plan of waiting three years was reduced down to three months.  Looking back now we can see now it was God’s fate & love that was guiding Becca and our family to be at the right place at the right time to prepare for the challenges Becca would face.  Becca’s love for Jesus Christ gave her the strength needed fight when most others would have given up.  There is no telling where our family would have been if we had waited  and followed the three year plan; had we not moved from East Texas to Austin there is a high probability Becca’s condition would have gone undiagnosed but as a result of God’s work we were blessed with more time.  Time- the most precious thing we wish we could have more of but at the same time blessed to have the extra time we did He not intervened with our plan.  As we would learn while young & raising a family plans would change almost quicker than they were first made. When it came to Becca she and God had a plan unknown to us.  As hard as it is to accept the most comforting words spoken to our family was “God needed her more”; i believe this is true of Becca.  Here is her story…

Rebecca “Becca” Parker was born on September 26, 2000 in Georgetown, Texas to Travis & Brandy Parker. She was the first grandchild from either parent’s side, from the moment Becca was born she filled everyone’s heart with love and joy with her natural heart melting smile & sweet laugh.  Becca was the oldest cousin (a title she was proud to claim) and felt this made her responsible for taking care of and look after all of the younger cousins that were to come.

Becca was a very unique individual; shortly after birth she would make this clear to everyone.  Becca’s childbirth went smoothly (Mom probably feels this is an understatement – both Becca and Connor were born naturally), she was 36 weeks when she was born, 6 lbs even.  Other than being so tiny preemie clothing would not fit nothing was out of the normal.  As with any newborn when she was two weeks old she went to her pediatrician for the routine checkup; it was at this visit her doctor first heard a potential murmur and referred her Children’s Cardiology Associates nearby in Austin.

Becca was quickly scheduled to see the Cardiologist regarding the murmur; 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 but the ASD was too large and in a position surgery would be required when she was older, most likely around the age of 8.  Although the doctor was optimistic for her parents hearing this news was devastating especially when both were so young (Travis 24 & Brandy 22) and the closest family member over 3 hours away.  Well…. change of plans… we adapted & endured and Becca continued to visit the doctor on a regular basis & medication became the way of life.

The medication treatment Becca was taking seemed to be working, there were no clear signs telling us differently and the doctors were happy with all of her test results.  Things were going pretty smoothly so it was decided she needed a playmate.  In 2003 she became a big sister to her brother Connor but his childbirth did not go as smoothly as Becca’s.

Connor was born early at 35 weeks, his lungs were not fully developed and had to be transferred from Georgetown Hospital to the NICU Unit at St Davids in Austin. The time the doctors noticed the breathing problem Connor was transferred less than 4 hours after being born.  Parents naturally want to be with their newborn child but this becomes difficult when Mom just gave birth and admitted in the hospital herself. Doctor’s know better than to keep the lioness away from her cub, the hospital and doctors worked to expedite Brandy’s release and within a few hours of Connor’s transfer Mom was right behind with a wheelchair/walking to make her way into the NICU.

Up to this point there was nothing alarming Becca’s condition; Connor being admitted into the NICU was the most serious situation we had faced.  Getting to the NICU & making arrangements for Brandy released for her to visit was tough but after we got there leaving the NICU was worse. A parent’s natural instinct is to have your baby in the hosptial 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 are not the most accommodating for guests, Mom would visit but could not stay long because she was still recovering.  In order to convince Mom to leave I committed to stay behind so Connor would not be alone.  Ultimately though it is not possible to stay and you have to leave, after all there is nothing you can do.  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 sensing 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.

to 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!

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.

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