Podcast captures last testimony of BYU alum’s 9-year breast cancer battle

Rebecca Hirschi and her family in front of their home in Boise, Idaho. (Alex Colberg)

All In: An LDS Living Podcast” featured BYU alumna Rebecca Hirschi on an episode released Jan. 6, three days after her passing from metastatic breast cancer.

Hirschi was well-known for being resilient and stalwart in her faith in God, especially through the trials she faced with breast cancer.

“The thoughts that you have when you’re full of faith, they just make you stronger, and they make you live better,” she said in the podcast. “I think they really have the power to change us, as we put the course of our lives in God’s hands.”

This was her last recorded interview before she passed away from her 9-year battle with cancer in her home while on hospice care, surrounded by her family and loved ones.

Hirschi was the founder of Hirschi Strong and A Million for Metastatic. These causes were dedicated to gathering donations for the Huntsman Cancer Institute to find a cure for metastatic breast cancer.

David Hirschi, Rebecca’s husband, helped start A Million for Metastatic with his wife. “One hundred percent of people with cases of metastatic breast cancer die, so there’s nobody that recovers from that. Yet, none of the research was going towards metastatic breast cancer. We wanted to switch the focus of all the breast cancer research to what we don’t know — which is how to cure it,” he said.

Hirschi was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 after moving to Bangkok, Thailand. Hirschi and her family flew to see a breast cancer professional in Alabama. After receiving treatment, the doctors told her that the chances of her cancer returning was extremely low.

However, the cancer returned in the fall of 2017. This time it had metastasized, spreading throughout her body. Sarah Hirschi, a current BYU student and Rebecca’s oldest daughter, was on her LDS mission in Arcadia, California when she found out that the cancer had reappeared. “I remember that my mom told me it was cancer and that there wasn’t a cure this time and it was terminal. I remember just sobbing and not knowing what to do right at that point because I only had six weeks left in my mission,” she said.

Despite having a relapse of terminal breast cancer, Hirschi was still able to fight through, dedicating the time she had left with her family. “She always had extra strength and energy to focus on her family relationships and every other relationship with everyone who she knew and loved,” Sarah said.

Rebecca Hirschi poses with her husband, David Hirschi in their home. (Sarah Hirschi)

In the All In podcast episode, Hirschi expressed her love for her family. “I feel incredibly grateful that I’ve had this time and this perspective because so many times there’s accidents where people are taken quickly. I just think that today, eternal today is what really becomes the focus,” she said. “That each and every day, and the moments within each day, can be lived to its fullest. And that to me has been a great gift.”

“All In” host Morgan Jones shared the sacredness of interviewing Hirschi right before she passed and the chance she had to have Hirschi’s final testimony recorded in the podcast.

“Rebecca was and is a rockstar, and somebody that probably didn’t get enough credit for all of the ways in which she helped people’s lives,” Jones said. “That’s what the goal for the podcast has been, to not only tell the stories of people that everyone knows about but rather to interview people that they should know about and that they can learn a lot from.”

David expressed his gratitude for the knowledge that Hirschi’s legacy will continue to live on through their 5 children. “If you look at our kids, you can tell that they’re grounded in the Savior and grounded in a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation,” he said. “Her death didn’t cause the dissolution of our family, it’s actually strengthened our testimonies and it’s given our children more motivation to keep the commandments and to keep sacred covenants in sacred places, and enable them to move forward.”

If you want to donate to A Million of Metastatic in memory of Rebecca Hirschi, you can do so at its website.

Rebecca Hirschi takes a selfie as she goes horseback riding. (Rebecca Hirschi)
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