Mission rallies to support family

Private memorial service for local teen held this past weekend

Brittany Pernosky thinks about her sister every day.

Rachel was a spirited young Mission woman whose life tragically came to an end last month. Her body was found in Chilliwack March 19 after an intense three-day search by family, friends and community members. As police continue to look for her killer, a private memorial service was held this past weekend.

Rachel grew up in Mission and attended Fraserview elementary and then went on to Mission secondary.

“Rachel was wild, for sure,” said Brittany, who at age 20, was two years older than her sister. “She was all over the place, but she managed it pretty well and made sure everyone was taken care of. She was very organized that way.”

Rachel was finishing school, said Brittany.

She was popular among her friends and was a loving mother to her one-year-old son, Marco.

“She had an unbelievable relationship with him,” said Brittany, who visited with Rachel and her son several times a week. “Every time someone comes through the door, he looks to see who it is.”

Rachel had a good relationship with Marco’s dad; she got along with everyone, added Brittany, who continues to have regular visits with her nephew.

The siblings were close and Brittany misses everything about Rachel, from her borrowing things without asking to her terrible jokes, and just hanging out.

“We love her and will miss everything about her.”

Brittany knew something was wrong when Rachel’s friend called her to let her know Rachel didn’t show up to go shopping. It’s something her sister wouldn’t pass up. When Brittany saw Rachel’s phone inside her Kite Street home, she got worried.

“She was attached to that thing,” said Brittany. Rachel was an avid social media user and shared her thoughts on sites like Facebook and Twitter regularly.

Brittany used those same sites to let people know her sister was missing. Everyone’s worst fears were confirmed when police showed up at her house late in the evening after another day of searching.

“It was one of those things you know, but didn’t want to hear,” recalled Brittany. “It was devastating.”

The news of Rachel’s death spread quickly and the community was hit hard. Even those who didn’t know Rachel offered their condolences and tried to find a way to support the family, especially Marco.

A March 22 benefit concert at Snipers Pool Hall raised $3,500, and another $1,000 online for the Pernoskys, and an account has been opened at Envision Financial (account number 4588539) for anyone who wants to donate.

A donation box is also set up at Grab-A-Java Coffee House, where Brittany works, and a place Rachel frequented.

The Optimist Club is donating proceeds from its silent auction at its annual Talent Show on April 5 to the Pernosky fund. Up to $500 will be matched by the Optimist Club.

Clever Canadian Couponing is donating part of the proceeds from its April 8 class to the same fund. The class will be held at the Mission City Business Centre on James Street.