Beca’s Story

A Letter from Beca’s Mother

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

“echoing… I am with you… I am with you… I am with you… this is the promise of My Presence.”

Jeremiah 29:12-13.

These were Rebeca “Beca” Shults Campos favorite verses and she relied on those powerful words, no matter the circumstances. Beca trusted in His promise for her life.

Beca and her younger brother Romeu were born in Brazil. The children and I had a wonderful, stable, healthy childhood, and lived there until Beca was 12 and Romeu was 10.

In December 1996, we moved to St. Louis, Missouri. Challenging times surrounded us as they dove into in a new culture, with a new language, new friends, and new experiences. It was not an easy transition for us in the beginning. However, as time went by, they became immersed in their new lives and became eagerly involved in their school and church. As the years passed in their new home, Beca and her brother continued to live a happy and healthy life.

Beca graduated from Parkway West High School, in Chesterfield Missouri in May 2003. Beca found her passion in her freshman year at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri where she studied Fashion Design, and later felt the call to pursue a degree in Marketing and Communications. In 2007, while she was attending Stephen’s College, Beca had a mole on her left ankle that was bothersome and even bled occasionally, so after several visits to the dermatologist, we had the mole removed and were told it was benign.

May 2008, Beca graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing and Communications from Stephen’s College. Beca received a coveted internship with Fleishman Hillard. However, she was not able to complete the internship as she had developed a lump behind her knee, which took its toll on her body. An orthopedic doctor diagnosed the lump as a “baker’s cyst.” The lump was eventually removed and biopsied. Tragic news came from the operating room. The lump was a malignant tumor. Beca’s fight, and our fight had begun.

But Beca’s faith was unwavering. She continued to fight relentlessly. She was not about to give up or give in to this horrific disease. Her journey with metastatic melanoma had many types of days. Some days were warm, and peaceful – glistening in the sunlight, while others were gloomy and the pain seemed endless. Beca’s faith and love for God only grew stronger and more intimate in spite of the obstacles she faced.

Beca’s search for answers as to Why? What? and When? were endless. Many of her questions remained unanswered. During the course of her treatment, she endured over 17 surgeries, including brain surgery, gamma knife radiation, full body radiation, chemotherapy, and a participated in a study at The National Institutes of Health. This study allowed doctors and scientists use her own “miracle” T-cells and learn about more methods of treatment for melanoma during her illness.

Throughout the painful treatments and tests, questions and prayers, smiles and tears, Beca found the strength to start the movement that has become Blackout Melanoma. She wanted to beat cancer, but she wanted to help others struggling with the disease as well. She was the driving force behind Beca’s 5k Race. Her vision of a society where prevention and detection is the norm, and effective treatments for metastatic melanoma are finally widespread and accessible. Blackout Melanoma strives to  continue Beca’s dream.

My little girl’s battle with metastatic melanoma ended in May 2011 after a three week stay at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She left this earthly life peacefully, surrounded by loved ones.

Throughout her fight with melanoma, my beautiful and loving Beca faced her suffering with tremendous courage. Beca’s frightful and painful battle with malignant melanoma left her body covered with scars. Yet her faith left her soul unblemished. She glorified her Savior and now lives forever more! Her grandpa Shults repeatedly affirmed, “Beca is at peace, all is well with her soul.”

In Loving Memory about-beca

Rebeca “Beca” Shults Campos

6/15/1984 – 5/19/2011