I have finished reading RARE and I continue to think to myself, “They are all correct, Rebecca was a gift, she was a presence of love to each who knew her in a profound way, her ability to rise above her sickness and live her life, never questioning, but keeping her strong faith”.
She was an Angel, she knew where she was headed, she felt it and in reading your book, she proved that to you all. To hold that faith in your hearts and believe as you all do is truly, truly inspiring. I feel as if I could’ve jumped into those pages and been one of your friends who were with you on your journey. You all were and remain blessed.
I have a poem that I have written to others over the years and in reading the words of your Grandfather, it immediately came to mind. I will gear the end of it towards your beloved Rebecca.
To love is one thing
To be loved is another thing
But to love and be loved is everything
Rebecca, with her effervescent grace, was a gift of ‘everything’
I am honored to have read your book and to get to know Rebecca and your family/friends , honored to have met Nancy and I will be honored to meet you as well. You are an unbelievable family. Your faith inspires me. Thank you.
Shortly after I met Paul, my brother was diagnosed with Recurrent Melanoma and I knew it was an illness that would take his life. Paul understood my pain because his nineteen year old daughter Rebecca had died of cancer in February, 2008. Paul told me about the book he had written, "Rare, My daughter's faithful journey through cancer". To this day, and I can't explain it, the book is Joyful. After speaking to both Paul and Nancy, I guess I would have to say that I believe that the Joy comes from knowing that their daughter is with God. I know that my brother is also with God but I guess I focused on how sad I was, and not on the comfort that he is now living the fulness of life in heaven with God.
I would recommend the book "Rare" to anyone who has a loved one going through cancer. It gives you insight into what the cancer patient is going through. I would recommend this book to anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer, or for that matter anyone who has lost a loved one, for it helped me let the sunshine (Joy) back into my life by focusing on the fact that my brother is now pain free and happy rather than dwelling on my loss. I would also recommend reading it whether you do or do not have a relationship with God. For those with Faith it reaffirms the fact that God is there with us and our loved one through the most difficult times in our lives and that our loved ones still "live". For those who have no relationship with God this book may show them that death is not the end but a new Beginning. Finally, I would recommend "Rare" to anyone who has given up on life. I think this book illustrates that while life can be very difficult at times, life is a wonderful gift to be cherished.
Paul and Nancy lost their only daughter and yet they were able to comfort me through their words both spoken and written. I still can't get over that!
It was a privilege for me to hear Rebecca's compelling story from her parents, Paul and Nancy Stepusin on my Homekeepers Television Show. I believe that God, Himself, prompted the writing of this book as the story unfolded. It is first hand, it is raw, it is fresh. Rebecca's life as presented in the book RARE, reveals a young lady, fully embracing life, and never fearing death. Through her story, she continues to teach us those immutable, changeless values that will live forever.
HOMEKEEPERS TELEVISION MINISTRY
CHRISTIAN TELEVISION NETWORK
I've been very touched by the book. The #1 thing: I am so thankful and also very appreciative of being cancer free in my own life: and I've never had cancer! I find myself more courteous to people (even when I drive) and I am constantly monitoring my attitude and level of self-pity. Wow, what an extraordinary family and young girl you had (still have!) Paul writes very well and I can't comprehend how he remembered all those details so minutely. Wow. I checked out this website and loved the pictures. However, I would have liked some pictures of Beck in the hosiptal. She was probably never more beautiful as then.
I'm so glad you will be going to tape the program for TV on WordNet with Fr. Mike Manning. Rebecca's story of faith and positivity must be told!
It's a wonderful book. While i was reading it I thought I wonder if this is weird that I'm reading this book and can't put it down. But I'm glad I read it and have passed it along.
There were similarities but it obviously was your daughter's story. I loved how you talked about her friends....Delaney's were the same, especially 2 that were always there when needed. We had a Halloween party a couple months before she left and had over 80 teenagers in the house for it. I knew there were so many who wanted to see her but didn't know how to, so I mentioned the Halloween Party idea to Delaney. She loved the idea and her friends took it and rolled with it.
4 days before she left she was so weak, and with the fluid in her legs it was dificult to get her up and down the stairs. I recommend she stay up in our room, as she had so often over the 4 years of illness, but said, "No, I want to go downstairs with all the people". I was confused and told her there was no one home but her, her Dad, and me. She looked at me and told me that people would be coming soon. Sure enough, we weren't downstairs for more than 5 minutes when friends stopped by with dinner. For the next 4 days our front door was constantly opening as people came by.
I think back to those last 2 weeks...our daughter Delaney prepared us every step of the way and patiently waited until we were ready before she left. Truly amazing.
Thank you for sharing your daughter's story in such a beautiful way.
I just finished RARE. I cried, I laughed, I remembered, I reflected, I rejoiced. God's love and light comes shining through so powerfully in the darkest moments of your journey. I'm in awe. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story. I feel so blessed to have known Rebecca and to know you, that our paths crossed in Celebration. Bless you and Paul and your beautiful family.
I am so amazed at the strength and faith of all the family members. Nancy and her family are an inspiration to all. In Nancy's comments where she says Becky is with her always in spirit and she talks to her every day, I am just overwhelmed.
Paul is an excellent writer. I can so feel their pain and also their joy in having Becky for nineteen years.
"Rare" takes you on a journey of love and joy, during a difficult part of life. Rebecca's knowledge through her battle with cancer of knowing that the body is just a vessel and can't affect our spirit unless we let it is inspiring. The love of the family through the whole journey is the unspoken glue that helped everything hold. For without Love you have nothing! My wish is for everyone to read this and realize that love and joy is just a Decision away. Thank you so much Paul for writing this book and Nancy for placing it in my hands!
After reading the very moving story of a beautiful young girl who continued her life in spite of a very serious illness; we cannot help thinking how appropriate the title "Rare" is. "Rare" is the family; mother, father, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins whose love for Rebecca was found on every page. "Rare" were Becky's friends who went beyond the meaning of true friendship. This was a glowing tribute by the father whose love for his daughter knew no bounds.
I really enjoyed the "Rare" book. Paul did a great job of telling the family/Becky's story. It is wondeful. As a nurse, I especially was moved by several items in the story, e.g., HIPAA problems, Becky's pneumothorax, double double pain, and patient/visitor treatment in the hospital. I loved that Becky's Dr Neil, Nurse Pat, and several hospital nurses and doctors were helpful and kind. Amazing that Beck could go on a cruise-your family is incredible in the face of such an ordeal!! I loved reading about the support you gave Becky and each other during this sad time. I found it touching when P.C. said, "Dad is my rock"--I noted how often "Dad" was there for Beck and family also. I was angry with the nurse who had to be "encouraged" to get more pain med for Beck and then a pillow and blanket for Nancy--thank goodness there were other kinder nurses with blankets, etc. Thanks again for sharing. It is a special book. Above all, I wish I had known Becky. She sounds wonderful!!!
Wow!!! I wish I had known Rebecca--although it is like I do now. What a powerful book!! I truly enjoyed the thoughts, words, and feelings of all her family and friends that are throughout the book. What a remarkable young woman Becky was!! My favorite quote from the book was by Rebecca's Aunt Deb, "Look at her smile. I see the trauma on her body, but her smile overshadows it all."
I have a picture on my desk that I look at every morning because it makes me smile. It was taken March of 2002 at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. It is of three happy middle school girls; my daughter Amanda and her friends Lauren and Becky Stepusin. Little did anyone know that within 6 years both Amanda and her friend Becky would have battled cancer, and that Becky would have lost her fight. I ordered the book and when it arrived I looked pensively at the cover, there was Becky smiling, the same way she had the last time I saw her…and then it hit me hard, would I be able to read this book? I took a deep breath and opened to the prologue and began, tears welled up in my eyes and I knew I would not be able to stop reading. I knew the outcome and at times I cried but the love and strength of Becky and her family was evident in every word. I found myself nodding in agreement as Paul wrote about the feeling of not having control over what was happening to Becky. I felt peaceful as Becky’s faith and trust in her parents, family, friends, doctors and the Lord poured from the words of the book. Reading this book made me realize that life is full of uncertainty and we are constantly being asked to trust. Becky Stepusin did that unconditionally. Her life and her battle with cancer is evidence of this. Paul and Nancy my heart goes out to you and your family, but thank you for sharing not only Becky with me but her story as well. I think about you and her often, especially as I walk by the house where you lived in St. Charles. I remember the happy middle school girl who laughed and played with my daughter. I remember her infectious smile. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever wondered if they could face the struggles that life throws our way. Thank you Paul and Nancy.
I have just recieved my copy of "Rare" and started reading it immediately. I am NOT a reader and yet I did not put the book down until I was 82 pages in and then I only did because I had something I had to get to. This book is written so well that it will have you right there in the moment of the text. I knew Rebecca personally, but I guarantee that you did not have to know her to realize how special how unique how "Rare" she truly was. I believe Rebecca was an angel that lived on this earth for 19 yrs to make a difference in all who knew her and now with this book for those who were not lucky enough to know her personally. This book will truly inspire, restore faith and give hope to all who feel that their circumstances are beyond what they can handle. And even after death Rebecca's story will continue to make a difference in peoples lives for years to come...
I finished the book last night. With tears in my eyes as I write this, your daughter, you and your family make me want to be a better Christian. I too have always believed that each person in life is here for a particular purpose. When I told my Mom that when I was five years old, she said that I was correct - my purpose for that day was to not get into trouble with my younger brother John. I think Rebecca's purpose was to show all who came in contact with her through example and not by words how to love and have faith. That old adage of "actions speak louder than words" truly applied to Rebecca and how she lived her life, especially her last 19 months. I also think one of your purposes in life Paul was to write and share her journey and your family's journey with the world. "Rare" is so rich with so many lessons, on so many levels, I would miss my flight tonight if I sat here listing the top 100.
"Rare", is a loving father's journey with a very special daughter, Rebecca, my niece. Rebecca's cancer is the journey-with all its challenges, ups and downs, hopes, disappointments and sharp turns. Readers will gain insight into Rebecca's inner beauty and strength which could not be contained - which glowed outwardly for all to experience. Readers will be inspired by her love for all of life as we know it and her anticipation of a new life yet to come.
It's a beautiful beautiful book that will bring tears to your eyes but will introduce youto an angel if you never met Rebecca... her friends will never forget her impact on their lives and love her always... her family was blessed to have her in their lives and they are a testament to the love and faith that helps carry them... thank you Paul for writing this book... that you Rebecca for you...
Five years ago, two events happened simultaneously that would forever change my life: I took a course called, "The Gospel According to St.Francis," where I was introduced to a Saint and a way of life that has informed all my studies since,and we bid farewell to a Saint in our midst, whose example in death has informed my living since. I'm still untangling the lessons I began learning five years ago, and intend to spend the rest of my life untangling them. Nancy and Paul have done a beautiful thing in sharing your daughter's story with the world - thank you.
I read Rebecca’s book from three different perspectives: a cancer survivor, an old friend of Rebecca’s, and a lover of books. As a cancer survivor, I was taken back to my diagnosis and all of the emotions I felt. As an old friend, I felt closure. To truly understand what Rebecca went through, I felt closer to her and her family. This book brings Rebecca’s smile and spirit to life. As a book fanatic, I was drawn in my Paul’s words. He does a wonderful job describing the changing moods and emotions. This book was beautifully written. I would recommend it to anyone.