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Rebecca Parish

Most children grow up being taken care of by their parents, but for Rebecca Parish, it’s been the other way around. When she was only nine, her father was involved in a serious tractor trailer accident, which left his shoulder permanently dislocated and took a large part of his leg. Then a few years later, her mother suffered a massive stroke that, even now, makes it difficult for her to talk sometimes and causes her to lose her balance. So Rebecca and her younger sister spend a significant amount of time each day helping their parents perform the simplest tasks, like putting their shoes on for them or combing their hair.

A serious student, Rebecca is enrolled in several Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which means hours of homework each night. Being able to complete all of her home chores along with her school work has required her to become a master at time management. But because maintaining the household has to come first, there are times when she must turn in her school work late. Rebecca admits that having no free time to herself can be stressful and put her in a bad mood. But she works hard at staying positive and says the best coping mechanism is patience. "It might not sound like much, but staying patient with the people I love improves my relationships with them tremendously."

Rebecca credits her parents’ disabilities with allowing her to become a more humane and understanding person and believes these skills, along with her ability to persevere through any difficulty, will go a long way toward helping her achieve her dream of becoming a doctor.