Thursday, June 22, 2000

Runner's efforts give girl funeral

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        As he handed over a $10,000 check Wednesday, Brian Stack learned that the parents of Rebecka Beviswould use the money for her headstone, burial plot and funeral arrangements.

        “Whatever you think you need,” the longtime recreational runner said to Ms. Bevis, when she told him how she would use the money. “I wish I could do more.”

        The 2-year-old terminally ill girl is not expected to live past her fifth birthday. She was diagnosed with malignant brain tumors in January. Doctors have removed some, but that hasn't stopped more from appearing.

        Rebecka's parents, Robert Casey and Faith Bevis, can't stand it anymore. They've decided not to put their daughter through another surgery. They want her to enjoy her last years, and they believe more operations will bring more tumors and pain.

        “She's had enough,” Ms. Bevis said. “It's a hard decision to make.”

        Mr. Stack, 42, of Fort Wright, respects their decision. For the past three months, he has been seeking donations to help Rebecka's family. In May, he ran the 26.2-mile Flying Pig

        Marathon in the toddler's name.

        Mr. Stack, a federal law clerk, decided earlier this year to run the Flying Pig Marathon in the name of someone who needed help.

        He met Rebecka and her family less than a month before the race through his church, St. Paul Christian Community Church of Fort Wright.

        Ms. Bevis is disabled, and Mr. Casey is a custodian. Their family comprises five children including Rebecka. They have Medicaid, but they're still paying about $300 in monthly, out-of-pocket medical expenses.

        It took Mr. Stack almost five hours to finish the race. He remembers every step after the 20-mile mark as being painful. Thinking of Rebecka inspired him to finish.

        Rebecka and her relatives greeted Mr. Stack at the marathon's finish line. He kissed her forehead. He'd do it again if he had the chance.

        Mr. Stack is moving to Cleveland this summer to take a job with the U.S. Department of Justice's anti-trust division. He already is thinking about running the Cleveland Marathon — once again in the name of someone who needs help.

        “I've never been more fulfilled,” he said. “If it makes other people appreciate what they have, then it's been worthwhile.”

        Those interested in helping Rebecka's family can send checks to The Rebecka Bevis Fund at any Fifth Third bank. The fund will remain open for about a month.


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