Encompass Winning Designer - Rebecca
Age: 14 years old
Hometown: Manhattan, IL
Medical Condition: Crohn’s Disease
Design Name: A Touch of Neon
When Rebecca was a young girl, she was always sick. Doctors could never fully explain the cause behind her chronic diarrhea and stomachaches. Her own mother assumed it was always the stomach flu.
“It would have made sense if my symptoms were not going on for months at a time,” shares Rebecca. At the age of six, she was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. “It was the first time I had ever heard of the illness, but it was not the last.”
Rebecca’s diagnosis definitely impacted her family’s social life. It was not always easy for the family to get out of the house whenever Rebecca fell ill. Eventually, she and her older sister were pulled out of school to be home schooled.
“Although we were active in our church and other youth organizations, my sister and I did not get the ‘full’ grammar school or high school experience, as some would say.” However, this does not bother Rebecca. “I honestly don’t know any different,” she says.
Throughout her journey, she has learned the importance of loving people for who they are, including herself, and is thankful that her disease did have one positive effect –- it brought her family closer.
Rebecca has been an active member on Starbright World –- Starlight’s online social network for seriously ill teens and teen siblings -– for the past two years. There, she says, she has gained friendships stronger then any other she has ever known. Thanks to Starbright World, the teen has also gained a better knowledge about illness - not just her own, but those of her friends as well.
“When I learned my drawing was one of the winners, I was home alone and started screaming. I picked up the phone and called my mom in hysterics.” Rebecca’s love for bright colors shines through in her drawing, ‘A Touch of Neon.’ “Bright colors always lift my mood and I am a huge fan of stars, hearts and peace signs. I hoped that by combining all of these colors and images together, I would create something that could lift others’ moods as well. If I could lift a young patient’s spirits –- even just a little –- that would mean the world to me.”