A LEGACY OF INSPIRATION
Rebecca Katherine Davidson May
April 6, 1980 - May 25, 2013
April 6, 1980 - May 25, 2013
Before her surrender to cancer, Rebecca Katherine Davidson May had a dream. She called it May Farm. It would be an overnight summer camp for children and adults with autism and other developmental differences. And it would be a farm with gardens full of vegetables, herbs, and flowers; and there would be horses.
After her Freshman year at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville as a psychology major, Becky Davidson May was first an intern and then employed as a camp counselor at an overnight summer camp run by North Carolina Autism Society. She did this every summer for 10 years, 2000-2009.
It was Becky's dream to create in Tennessee a camp such as the one in North Carolina where children and adults with developmental disabilities could have a regular summer camp experience, just like their typically-developing friends. She called it May Farm, and it was to focus on having fun and building relationships, which were her specialty.
As a child, Becky was a rule-follower. She was an A+ student. She studied dance and gymnastics, piano, art, and theatre. She excelled at everything she did. She was a cheerleader at Martin Luther King Magnet School from 7-11th grades and at Hillsboro High School in Nashville during her senior year. She had a brilliant mind. Becky was bubbly and kind-hearted. She loved singing and performing. She loved country music and living in Nashville. She was a talented songwriter. She had the world on a string!
With her natural talents, Becky would have been successful at many different professions, but she chose to steer her life path to run alongside those of children and adults with “other abilities.” She chose to spend her time teaching, inspiring, and befriending those with developmental disabilities. She worked tirelessly to make each day special for every one of the individuals she served. She lit up the room with her personality and encouraged others to be their best! Her enthusiasm to help others was not only inspiring, it was contagious! Becky was an enthusiastic volunteer. Through Hands On Nashville, she was committed to Habitat for Humanity and Gilda’s Club. She organized volleyball games and canoeing trips down the Harpeth River with her friends. She joyfully gave her time, energy, and sunny disposition for the good of all.
Becky maintained the many relationships she formed, not only with her peers, but with the very special individuals she served. Two years in a row she brought home for Christmas a special friend who had no family to go to. Those were our best Christmases ever!
In July 2010, Becky married the love of her life, Christopher May. Just two weeks before their wedding day, Becky was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 3. It was unbelievable that someone as otherwise healthy and full of life as Becky could be sick. With the support of her vast network of family, friends, and colleagues, Becky bravely fought and shared her strength and positive outlook as she suffered through chemotherapy, radiation, and two stem cell transplants; however, she quietly transcended the bonds of this earth on the night of May 25, 2013.
Becky graduated summa cum laude with a BA in psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She received her master’s degree in special education from Vanderbilt University in 2005 and immediately went to work at Gower Elementary School where her peers elected her Teacher of the Year in 2012. She was loved by everyone who knew her; and even though, or maybe because our hearts break every day, we are committed to her most cherished dream. The one she called MAY FARM.
Becky drew these "heart people," as she called them, when she was 6 or 7 years old.