Sea of sunflowers honors late wife - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sea of sunflowers honors late wife

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There is a radiant stretch of yellow road along Highway 85, just outside of Eau Claire. It's leaving those who drive by in awe of the radiant color and also curious about why they're there.

The 400 acres and hundreds of thousands of glorious blossoms glisten beneath the golden sun on Highway 85.

The more than 5 miles of sunflowers sway in memory of a woman who shone as bright as the light the flowers stand in attention to.

On November 17th, Babbette Jaquish died, after her battle with multiple myeloma, a form of leukemia. Her daughter, Jennifer White, said, "She was really sick when she was first diagnosed. They gave her two weeks to two months to live if she didn't respond to the chemotherapy at that time."

During her fierce fight with cancer Babbette's husband, Don, began planting her favorite flower on their property. He said, "I was totally in love with her."

Jennifer said, "Her dream was to take the sunflowers that we raised, and it's start to finish, and sell them and donate a portion of the proceeds to cancer research and also helping families with expenses involved in cancer treatment."

Don and Jennifer are nurturing that dream. Don said, "I told Jenny I want to make Babbette the Betty Crocker of the sunflower business."

A simple but substantial tribute for a selfless woman. Don said, "Four months from the day that Babbette died, to the day, Jenny was looking for something in the file cabinet and came across a folder where Babbette had written a letter to each one of her children and to me and to her mom and each of her siblings."

A letter that has become nearly as yellow as the sunflowers after months of daily readings.

Don doesn't own all of the land where the sunflowers were planted. He said he was amazed at people's willingness to allow him to plant on their property in Babbette's honor.

The family said they will cut, clean and bag the flowers, which will be sold through local retail stores in the area.

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