A year after wife's death, farmer harvests sunflowers he planted in her memory


On Nov. 17, 2014, Babette Jaquish passed away from cancer. A year later, her husband is making good on a promise he made to her.

We wrote earlier this year about Wisconsin farmer Don Jaquish Jr's labor of love, planting sunflowers on a 60-foot wide, 5-mile long strip of farmland after promising his wife he would plant some on his land during her battle with cancer.

After creating a magnificent vista alongside a stretch of State Highway 85, fall inevitably arrived and the yellows and green faded to brown as harvest season ensued.

With it, as WQQW reports, comes the second part of his plan to honor his wife's memory, and Jaquish has been busy harvesting the seeds for the nonprofit company he's started that's named after her – "Babette's Seeds of Hope."

The money raised from the bagged bird seed will go toward cancer research, with Jaquish telling the TV station: "The faster we find a cure for cancer, it'll end a lot of this suffering. We're just trying to do our part."

After it was reported in the summer, Jaquish's story went global, with the farmer telling KARE 11 people had emailed him from around the world, and came from all over to visit the sunflower-lined stretch of highway he'd created.

"It went way beyond everything we ever dreamed about."

Although his tribute has gained his late wife recognition around the world, he's still coping with her passing, which proved particularly difficult when it came to anniversary of her death last Wednesday.

"It's hard this year," he said. "The part I miss the most is just holding her hand."

You can help Babette's Seeds of Hope and the fight against cancer by buying the organization's bird seed, which retails for $15.95 a bag.

The seed is being sold at various locations in Wisconsin, including in Alma and Pepin. You can find a full list here.

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