Rachel Barnes
Memorial website in the memory of your loved one
Her legacy
Her Legacy  
July 28, 2006


One year ago today Rachel left this world. After 3 1/2 years of battling, she finally won the war. She fought for her life like the bravest soldier on any battlefield. She faced every obstacle and every hurdle with courage, faith, and determination. Sure, she was afraid. But she found courage to face each CT scan, each new treatment and its side effects, each time she heard bad news from the doctors. But that is what courage is-facing and dealing with something when you are afraid. So many times people said to her, "I don't know how you do it." Her answer would always be, "Because I have to and so would you if you were in my place." Her life went from being happy and carefree to a life of hospitals and doctors and just trying to beat the cancer that invaded her body. She did all of this with a positive attitude-usually with a smile on her face.

For the last year and a half of her life, she had a lot of time on her hands. She couldn't get out and do things that she wanted to do. Her little niece and nephews, who brought her so much joy, couldn't visit her for fear they were carrying a virus which could have been life threatening for Rachel. The medicines she took and the effects of the chemotherapy affected the way she looked, her emotions, her health,every thing about her life.

But Rachel found happiness in the small things. She loved doing things on her computer. She loved playing EQ with the new friends she had made. . She did the church bulletins and made a beautiful power point presentation of the family which she gave as Christmas gifts. Before she got too sick, she even built her own computer. She loved watching her soaps every day. I know Passions and Days isn't on the same intellectual level as Seinfeld or The Tic or Mythbusters or Futurama, but it was fun finding out each day if Sheridan had found Luiz.

She loved working jigsaw puzzles. She would stay up sometimes until 5 in the morning working on them while I laid at the end of her bed sleeping. One that she and her cousin Amy worked during her second transplant now hangs in the hallway of the BMT unit of Markey Cancer Center. Another one just like it hangs on her bedroom wall.

She loved listening each Saturday night to a funny radio show out of Whitesburg. We always said we were going to call the host, but we never did. She loved laying on her "community" bed watching movies with her mommy, daddy, Aunt Deb, Amy, her sis, and anyone else who wanted to join. She loved having people visit when she felt good. She loved getting cards and gifts from people because she knew people cared about her. Her life was different, but she made the most of it.

Rachel changed as her illness progressed. Oh, she was for the most part still the same Rachel. She was still outspoken, a bit snappy at times, and sometimes brutally honest. She still didn't like whining. She was still funny, quick witted, and she still loved new clothes. But at the same time, she came to know things about life that most people probably never do. She learned to know the difference between what was important and unimportant. She learned not to take life for granted and to cherish every moment of it. She learned to find contentment in simple things. She learned to not let vanity keep her from doing the things she wanted when she was able to do them. She came to understand people-to see beyond their actions, to understand their motives, to forgive them and to ask for ther forgiveness. She learned that she could not change people and to accept that fact. She became a very humble person. She loved people in a new way with a new heart. She grew to understand what her life was about-the purpose of it.

Rachel kept a diary during her illness. I know that a diary is private, but she would want me to share some of her thoughts with you. Much of her diary consisted of prayers for those she loved. She asked God to help them to do the right things in life, to use their God given abilities, to give up the things that were destroying their lives. She asked God to bless them with happy productive lives and to help them realize what was truly important in their lives. She asked God to give her mommy and daddy strength no matter what happened. Even when she was at the end of her life, her main concern was for others.

She knew that she would be okay. She knew God's promises for her and that at the end of her life she would be in His hands. She looked forward to meeting her Grandpa Cook for the first time. She knew she would never have childen here on earth, but she hoped that in Heaven there would be a baby that she could care for. She loved her life here and certainly didn't want to leave her loved ones, but she also knew that something much greater than we could ever imagine awaited her. She had been at the brink of death before and she had a foretaste of the glory to come.

My life will never be the same without Rachel. I will always miss her. I will always love her. A part of me will always be broken.I will never let her go. She was my child, my joy, my hopes and my dreams. But because of her, I can look beyond myself and find the strength she asked God to give me to go on day to day. Because of her, I can find hope, if not in this life, then at least in the next. She taught me so much. My prayer is that I can live my life pleasing to God and His will and that He will forgive me of my doubts and my shortcomings.

I know that Rachel's life had a marvelous purpose. Her short life was not a life lived in vain.

Let this be her legacy.

She was here to teach us about life and death, to be an example for us, to show us what it means to really grow. She was here to teach us how to love, to give of ourselves, to find true happiness, and to make the best of the hand we are dealt. She may have lost a few battles, but in the end she won the victory. Let us remember her always.

2 Timothy 4:7-9

I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.

From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing.

Be diligent to come to me soon.

Katie Walz-2008 Recipient of Scholarship  

On May 25, 2008, Katie Walz was presented with the Rachel Barnes Memorial Scholarship at the Pikeville High School graduation. Katie graduated Cum Laude and was 12th in her class. Her leadership skills, commitment to  education, and strong work ethic are very impressive, to say the least. We were very honored to present this scholarship to such a deserving young woman. Katie will attend Asbury College in the fall and is presently employed part-time at Food City in Pikeville. She is the daughter of Reverand Mark and Mrs. Julie Walz. We wish Katie the best in all that she aspires for and in all that she does.


Katie Walz

Rachel's Life  

Rachel Catherine Barnes was born July 9TH 1983 to Scrapy Louis and Marilyn Elizabeth Cook Barnes in Pikeville, Ky.  Her father born in Louisville KY to Joe Louis and Bertha Thompson Barnes.  Her mother born in Pikeville KY to James and Eulah Taylor Cook.

Her sister, Rebecca Lynne Barnes born November 21 1975 and married to Steven Neil Slone of Shelbiana KY. Her neice Sarah Elizabeth Briana Slone, nephews, Steven Andrew Connor, Brendan Alexander Xavier, Shaun-Patrick Joseph Slone. 

Rachel attended Pikeville Elementary School and also Pikeville Independant High School where she  was editor of the PHS Yearbook for 2001, member of the Dance Team, PHS Chorus, and Who's Who for four years. was a Jr. Varsity Cheerleader, on the Speech and Drama Team.  Rachel also helped with Betsy Layne yearbook with her mother.  Some of her favorite teachers were Mr. Houston and Mrs. Huffman.

Rachel attended Morehead State University her first semester of college but during the Thanksgiving break her mother found a large knot on her neck and the next Thursday was verified by doctors as being Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  That weekend her sister Becky came in and went with them to Pikeville Methodist Hospital where cat scans showed a mass in her chest showing the cancer. It was at this time that Rachel started a regimine of biopsies, chemo and radiation at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington KY under the care of Dr. Cronin.

Rachel would attend Prestonsburg Community College in Pikeville, Ky until the cancer came back for the second time.  At this time, Rachel decided to go to UK MArkey Center in Lexington Ky where there were hopes of a better treatment options.  A stem cell transplant in which she would donate her own stem cells to be frozen and used after high dose chemotherapy to regain her immune system.  The tranplant was a success but did cause many heart and lung problems.  Even though she was unable to get around like before she would have nothing of anyone feeling sorry for her because she had cancer. 

Again, Hodgkin's disease had came back and this time the doctors said that the best treatment would be a stem cell transplant from a sibling.  But the chances of matching were only 1 out of 4.  The tests were done and somehow her sister was a match 6 out of a possible 6.  She then nicknamed her sister her "Lil' Angel".  The transplant took very well and Rachels counts were up before the doctors expected. 

But this disease wasnt through with putting my sister through suffering one last time.  The beginning of 2005 she was told once again the cancer was back.  She knew it was she always had a feeling when it was back.  But my sister never gave up her fight with cancer.  Sure she was scared when mom told her that "yes" it was cancer but this young woman loved her life cancer and all.  Even in the hardest of times, the struggling and suffering she would think of others.  Asking me if I knew how other patients back at the hospital were doing.  A smile would come across her face when I would speak of other cancer survivors doing so good. 

It is an understatement to say that my sister was a "fighter".  She was a rock that could not be moved.  Cancer only made her a stronger and gentler person caring and even more compassionate than before.  And Rachel taught us all so much through these 4 yrs.  Cancer is only a word and cannot kill our spirit.  She loved her life and fought harder than anyone Ive ever met in my lifetime. 

I remember when my parents brought Rachel home.  I thought she was my own lil baby doll.  I was so proud to finally have my long awaited sister.  I didn't mind too much to share the spotlight with her.  I remember her babysitter Helma could not cook and sometimes I would cook and feed her because I liked playing big Sis.  I remember when she started going to Flo's house(new babysitter) and I really liked her she treated Flo as her own and I think we became family with the Buckleys(Dwight, Bubby, Kim).  Rachel went to Model City Headstart and I remembe the little play where she was dressed up as a present and what a beautiful present she was! 

In grade school she became friends with Jessica King and from there kept adding more friends and more friends.  By the time she was in junior high I was loading them all up in my little Dodge Advenger and bringing them back to the house for slumber parties where she and her friends made prank phone calls to about everyone in Pikeville.  Rachel called the Colley Motel and said "I think I think I left my rubber duckie in your swimming pool" and called another motel and said"Im out here on US 23 what way is south"...Looking back on all our pictures together its easy to see that my sis always brought the biggest smile to my face.  I havent found one picture of me not smiling beside of her.

I know Im going out of the timeline but I just had to mention the fact that my sister would always bring up.. The fact that me and my cousins did not want to play with her and she played kickball by herself and kicking the ball only to throw the ball at herself to get an out.  Just goes to show how kids can be so mean...including myself.  It is certainly a good thing that we grow up and learn how things that we do can hurt someones feelings.

Rachel had so many friends I dare not try to list them all because I would be scared Id leave someone off.

Rachel loved working puzzles and working on her multiple computers, she was in love with this internet game called Everquest that she played even before during and after chemotherapy.  It was on Everquest that she met Ryan better known to me as "Lou".  Rachel had told em that his mother had passed away from breast cancer..  Lou came to Pikeville from I believe Maryland is where he lives to take Rachel to Hillbilly Days.  She sure did love her some gyros and bahama mamma's.  She even rode the scrambler and she had been very sick.  Determination that this disease would not keep her down.  Lou then came with her to Lexington to Shaun's birthday party and Rach wanted for him to have it at Check E Cheese and so we did and we all played games.  It was so wonderful to see this young man come into my sister's life and be her friend seeing her through everything for the wonderful and beautiful young lady that she is.  Thank you Lou!!

My sister may not have graduated college or got a great paying job got married or had children but she had this.

She became the most caring and sweet person Ive ever known, she has become a hero to everyone that has had the pleasure of meeting her.  Her job was teaching people hulity, to teach us what true strength was, to show us how someone will always have it better than you and someone will always have it worse than you, that giving will open up your heart..she taught me that death is just another part of my life.  

I saw my sister two weeks before she died and the night before she had been very ill.  The day that I was there she sat up in bed and we all played games with the familyscatagories and family feud to name a few.  She ate a few corn chips and gummi bears and pixie sticks.  at one point she wanted to eat pizza rolls.  It felt so good to see her feeling better.  I think she was just so happy to have the whole family around.  Our cousin Amy's husband MArk did a recording of Green Days "Time of your life" and everytime someone would come in shed say "Daddy, play it again."

In the end not even death could take her smiling face from our hearts and minds.  I see my sister in everything around me.  The first thing I think of in the morning is my sister and how she is gone from this earthly life but I quickly remember that I cry for all the happy times that we had.  I drive my car and I think of her picking leaves off her white eclipse or showing me her snazzy new eclips convertable, I get in front of my computer every day to work and remember how much she loved herS, since last year during the stem cell transplant her pictures are on every side of my cubicle..she was never running low on prayers from her sister I can tell you that.  When it rains I dont run..I walk and I enjoy the fact that I get be i the sun or get in the pool.. Because of things that she couldnt do it taught me to love the simple things in life.  It has taught me how much my children are blessings and how they deserve a hug and kiss every day and told that I love them.

There are people that now know Rachel through dad's work, mom's work, my work, my aunts work, my cousins work.,...all of these people she may never met in person but have touched their lives. 

I don't know why God had to take my mom and dad's baby away, I don't know why he had to take my sister away, or why shehad to suffer so much but if she could coem back and have the same life over again she would becuase this child of God was in love with her life. 

ITs the happy memories that make me cry and Id rather cry with those wonderful memories than have nothing at all.

Every day I look up to the sky and say "Rachel, you sis loves ya" and I know that shes is up there smiling at me just as she is smiling over our mom and dad.  Its so funny because normally when someone dies I get very angry with God and I don't understand.  I don't feel that way with her.. I miss her and its greater pain that Ive ever felt..much more than losing a friend or any family member I've ever lost.  The pain is so deep in your heart and in the pit of your stomach.  

I am glad she is no longer sick and I wish that she was here with me but I suppose that someone upstairs has prepared her a wonderful place and I find comfort in knowing that Jesus is holding my sisters hand and I cannot wait until the day I look upon her face and tell her that her sis is home.

I love you mom and dad




Rachel's Garden  

Appalachian News Express

Yard of the Week



Scrapy Louis and Marilyn Cook Barnes of Williams Hollow, Pikeville, have an exquisite garden plot set aside in their front yard. It is a memory garden for their daughter, Rachel, who died in 2005 of Hodgkins/lymphoma.

“We started on the garden a month after Rachel died,” Marilyn said. “We both worked on it and the grandchildren helped. That first year was the prettiest.”

Rachel Catherine Barnes Memorial Scholarship  

The 2007 Rachel Barnes 
Scholarship Awarded

We are proud to announce that the 2007 recipient of the Rachel Barnes Scholarship is Richelle Lynne Murray of Pikeville, KY. She was active in many extracurricular activities at PHS, including Pep Club, National Honor Society, yearbook staff, and was vice-president of her class for three years. She will attend the University of Lousiville in the fall where she will major in business.
We wish her the best in her educational endeavors.

We also want to thank everyone who has so generously contributed to the scholarship fund.  You have made it possible to keep this scholarship going, and we appreciate your kindness from the bottom of our hearts.
The 2nd annual Rachel Barnes scholarship will be awarded in the spring of 2007 to a deserving young woman who fulfills the necessary requirements and completes the necessary applications. If you are interested and qualify, please see your guidance counselor at PHS.

Bridget Walsh - 2006 Scholarship Recipient

Pikeville High School was proud to honor Rachel Catherine Barnes (1983 – 2005), class of 2001, by working with her family to present a scholarship in her honor. PHS senior Bridget Walsh was presented with the scholarship prior to her graduation ceremony in May. With tears in her eyes, she accepted the scholarship from Rachel’s mother Marilyn Barnes.

“I feel honored to present this scholarship to Bridget,” Barnes said. “She exemplifies the characteristics of the young lady we were looking for to receive this award. She is ambitious with a strong work ethic, much like Rachel was.”

The Barnes family worked with PHS to form the scholarship to serve two purposes: to honor the memory of Rachel and the kind of person she was, and to help the young women of PHS to fulfill their dreams of a college education. The scholarship is worth an amount of $1,000.00 and is given to a young lady graduating from PHS who is a business or computer major, has a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and is involved in extra curricular activities.

Walsh is the first recipient of the scholarship. She is the 18 year old daughter of Robert and Colleen Walsh of Pikeville. She graduated from Pikeville High School on May 21, 2006. While attending PHS, she was a member of both the girls’ and boys’ varsity cheerleading squads, the track team, the pep club, president of her Junior class, and coeditor of the school yearbook. In addition to her outstanding achievement in school and her involvement in many extracurricular activities, she also works part-time. Bridget plans to attend the University of Louisville this fall where she will major in business.

As Walsh accepted the award, she said to Rachel’s mother, “This is a great honor to receive this scholarship in honor of your daughter. She was such a strong girl and I hope I will be able to take some of her characteristics with me to college and to take this opportunity to reach the goals I have set for myself.”

Walsh received a plaque honoring her as the scholarship recipient. Another plaque is on display at Pikeville High School in the Commons Area. “We hope to continue this scholarship year after year,” Barnes said. To make a contribution to the Rachel Barnes Scholarship Fund, you can send a check directly to the Rachel Catherine Barnes Memorial Scholarship Fund at Community Trust Bank, PO Box 2947, Pikeville, KY 41502 - 606- 432-1414. All contributions are tax deductible. For questions contact Amy Renigar at (937)643- 0362; amyrenigar@gmail.com or Debbie Renigar at (606) 433- 9239.

Rikki Murray Awarded RCB Scholarship for 2007  

 Rikki Lee Murray, graduate of Pikeville High School, was awarded the annual Rachel Catherine Barnes Scholarship for the 2007 school year. She was awarded the $1000 scholarship upon graduation and is now attending the University of Louisville where she is majoring in business. We wish her the best in her educational endeavors!

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