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Son fulfils 76-year-old mom's bucket list

November 3, 2017

Rebecca Danigelis was abruptly fired from her job. She was 76 years old.


As an immigrant who moved to the United States from England in the late 1960s, being employed was inextricably tied to her self-worth. She was devastated.



According to a story by Jason Duaine Hahn in the 'People', Rebecca worked in the housekeeping industry until September 2016, the job was her pride. It had helped her raise her two sons.


“There were days after this first happened that I didn’t want to wake up,” Boston based Danigelis said. “I didn’t want to face the reality that I wasn’t going to wake up and go to work.”


However, on her last working day, she left a voicemail for her younger son, who was touring Paris: “I just got fired. Just want you to know that. Call me.”


Sian-Pierre Regis said he would never forget listening to his mother’s message for the first time. “It was one of those life moments where I was fully faced with my mom’s mortality, and I thought things could get really bad,” said Regis, 33, a journalist and filmmaker. “Everything she worked for and everything she knew was taken away from her and she had no safety net. I knew at 75, she had little chance of getting a new job, and it was going to be an uphill battle.”


Three months before she was fired, Regis had began taking his mother out on monthly trips to do the things she had always wanted to do, but her 15-hour work days would never allow. Regis decided he would dedicate more time to helping her fulfil her dreams, which would help to cheer her up.


Over a year, Danigelis did many exciting things as milking cows in Vermont, walking the route of the Boston Marathon, co-piloting a plane, and taking a hip-hop dance class taught by a Hamilton dancer. She has an Instagram account (@Rebrexit), where she documents her adventures for her nearly 50,000 followers and motivates people in similar situations.


“When you take your job,  you get the handbook, but there’s never a page that says that on your last day of work what will happen,” Danigelis says. “I think the whole world needs to do more for seniors.”


Regis is filming their journey and is making it into a documentary called, Duty Free, due out at the end of 2018. The two still have some goals left to complete this year, including skydiving in Hawaii and having Danigelis write her own eulogy—something Regis admits will be hard for him, but Danigelis insists on doing, because it will help her feel in control of her own story.


“I feel like a kid again, he brought me back to life,” Danigelis says. “I’m living again. I feel younger and, actually, I look younger, too!”



Read original story and watch video here:


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