This Spaders are a family from Sioux Falls, South Dakota that have a special motto they use to see them through the toughest times: "broken, brave and blessed."
When their daughter and sister Rebekah Spader was born with HSAN, a rare hereditary disorder that attacks the nervous system, the family leaned in on one another to support the little girl. Then, six years later, she was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome.
This devastating disease slows down the production of healthy, mature blood cells. The cells build up in bone marrow, reducing the number of healthy red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
When the family was told that Rebekah's bone marrow transplant did not work, they made the difficult decision to stop treatment and spend whatever time they have together in the best way they know how.
The family banded together to help Rebekah with her Wish Gift Concert in July where she raised $20,000 for Make-A-Wish South Dakota.
Then big brother, AJ stepped up to ask her a very important question:
"I would be broken if you weren't my sister because you taught me how to be brave and I'd be blessed if you went to formal with me," AJ read his poster out loud.
Of course the delighted little girl said 'yes' and she was treated to the fairy tale High School experience, she likely would never have known without her big brother's love.
AJ and Rebekah's father told KSFY that the joy he felt seeing his two children enjoying their time together was tinged with sorrow, knowing that his daughter's time is running out.
The family doesn't know how much longer they have together with Rebekah, so every happy experience is a precious memory they savor.
"The fun days when they get to do what they want to do and things seem normal even though the last two days we were in the hospital wondering if she was going to make it. Days she looks normal and seems normal are the days that we treasure," Tony said.
Sadly, little Rebekah passed away on August, 4 2016.
Her parents write:
"The motto that our family adopted early on in this journey was Broken. Brave. Blessed! Rebekah's earthly journey was JUST that. Her body was Broken because of life's unfortunate circumstances. She was continually Brave beyond her years as she fought through so many very difficult days, was unable to do so many things that others her age were doing, and battled a fight against so many odds. Yet, Rebekah KNEW she was BLESSED. She would be the first to list the many blessings in her life and so many of them being in existence JUST because she walked this broken path bravely! May we all live out her legacy by recognizing the opportunities we have to be Brave despite our Brokenness and ultimately knowing that we are Blessed! "