For Lori...

I hope I can do this justice...

So Keith and Patty had a daughter named Lori who at a very young age was diagnosed with cancer. She told her father in those early days after diagnosis that she had three wishes:

  1. That she would live to walk her own little daughter to school on the first day of kindergarten.
  2. That her daughter would not forget her.
  3. That her daughter would never have to live with the pain of watching her child die, the way Lori's father was having to watch her die.

Unfortunately, Lori passed away when her little girl was only four years old, so she didn't get to walk her to school on the first day of kindergarten.

At one point in her last summer, Lori was very weak and in a wheelchair from the chemo. But she was thinking about the wonderful State Fair that we have in Minnesota and she decided that she had to take her daughter to that State Fair. So she announced that that was exactly what she was going to do. Her parents and her siblings all gathered around and protested that she couldn't possibly take her there in that condition. She was far too weak. And the siblings said, "We will take her to the State Fair, Lori..."

But she insisted that this was something she had to do. So they got her ready and went together, pushing her in the chair, letting her little girl ride in her lap at times, enjoying all of the sights and sounds that make up the Great Minnesota Get Together.

Then Lori spotted the Tilt-A-Whirl. She remembered riding this as a child and how much she loved it. She decided she had to take her daughter on this ride. So they stood in line with her and headed up the ramp for the ride. But when they got to the front of the line, the carnie worker took one look at Lori's daughter and said, "She can't ride this. She's too small."

Well, Lori wheeled aside with him and gave him a look and said, "Listen, I'm not going to be here next year. I have to take her on this ride today."

He walked back to the line and looked at the little girl and said, "You know, I think she is just tall enough after all." So they rode that Tilt-A-Whirl together that day.

Lori died not long after that.

The next summer, Keith and Patty decided to take their granddaughter to a little local carnival that rolled into White Bear Lake one weekend. And there it was: the little Tilt-A-Whirl. One of those that comes in pieces and is bolted together in five minutes and that usually only young people ride because they don't think about the fact that it is tossed together in a few minutes and can't possibly be safe? They were just walking past it when the little girl spotted it and said, "I want to ride on that, Grandpa!"

Well, it wasn't something that he relished riding, so he wisely said, "Oh no, honey. I'm afraid you aren't old enough to ride on that yet. That's for big kids."

"You're wrong, Grandpa!" she said. "I rode that ride last summer with my Mommy!"

And that's when they knew that Lori's second wish had come true. She had left memories that her daughter would never forget.

One of the last things she said before she died was that last wish. She hoped the cure for cancer would be found during her daughter's lifetime so she'd never suffer watching her own child die from the same because watching her parents suffer was more awful than the cancer itself. And Keith told her that he would never give up the fight and would always work at helping to fund the research that will eventually find that cure. And as I wrote in this post, he has been a tireless worker for ACS and Relay For Life.

Today was for you, Lori.

Today's miles: 5
Total so far: 32.5
Still to go for goal: 467.5

Friday's miles: 3
Total so far: 27.5
Still to go for goal: 472.5

Playing in my head: This is the Last Time by Keane

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