In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

December 3, 2015

Harvesting Seeds of Hope and Remembering

By In the Loop

Babbette805Shortly after his late wife, Babbette, died of cancer in November 2014, Don Jaquish found one of the many journal entries she'd written during her nine years of treatment at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. Babbette left this one undated, but Don says he believes it was written before Thanksgiving 2013.

What I'm Thankful For

I'm thankful for each sunrise and my morning coffee with my husband. I'm thankful for being able to wake up each morning and see the people that I love. I'm thankful for my children and my grandchildren. I'm thankful for all of my family; I'm so blessed with all of their love. I'm thankful for better days, knowing that when the sun comes up it's a new beginning and you get to start over and make this day whatever you want it to be …

Don says these words perfectly sum up Babbette, despite everything she was going through at the time. "She was a hard person not to like," he says.

Don and Babbette first came to Mayo Clinic in 2006 after doctors back home in Wisconsin were unable to pinpoint what had been causing her much pain for many months. "Within two hours … she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma," Don says. "By that time, she was given two weeks to two months to live if she didn't respond to chemo."

But she did respond. For nine years, in fact.  And throughout those years, the care and support Babbette received at Mayo were "top of the line," Don says. . "She had Dr. Martha Lacy as her primary physician, and it doesn't get any better than her," he says. "Babbette had the greatest respect for everybody at Mayo who took care of her. And they loved her back."

A few years into her cancer treatments, Babbette came up with an idea that also reflects the person she was, her daughter, Jennifer Harschlip-White, tells us. "Sunflowers were her favorite flower," Jennifer says. "So she decided that since we farm for a living, maybe we should plant some sunflowers, bag and sell the seeds, and then give back a portion of whatever money we make to cancer research."

Today, that idea has turned into a family business called Babbette's Seeds of Hope. It also turned into a bright, flowery 4.5-mile tribute to Babbette that has caught the eyes of media outlets near and far. "We never expected this kind of response," Jennifer says. "My mother was always so grateful for her care at Mayo Clinic. There are so many people there who made a difference in her life, and we're hoping this does something similar."

For more information on Babbette's Seeds of Hope, check them out on the Facebook. Then be sure to come back to the In the Loop blog, where you can share your thoughts and share this story with others.

Tags: Babbette Jaquish, Babbette's Seeds of Hope, Dr. Martha Lacy, multiple myeloma, Patient Stories

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