Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On Mother’s Day, most people are taking time to show their mothers how much they care. But it can be a difficult day for those who’ve lost their mother.
Wendy Jacobson’s mother passed away in 2008 after a 13-year battle with breast cancer, but she’s keeping her mother’s memory alive by fulfilling a dying wish.
“We were very close,” said Wendy.
She now has an annual tradition to honor her mother, Jan.
“Every year, every Mother’s Day we do the Race for the Cure,” said Wendy.
Wendy joins thousands to raise money for breast cancer; the disease that took her mother’s life.
“She was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 1995. At that time it was Stage 4,” said Jacobson.
Given just 6 months to live, Jan defied the odds
“She made up her mind that she was going to beat it,” she said.
During that time, Jan saw an opportunity to inspire others. She wrote a book called “Hands Off My Hope! Life Lessons on my Journey with Breast Cancer,” but she left it to her daughter Wendy to make sure it made it to store shelves.
“Two days before she died, she asked if I would continue to market her book when she was gone. And I told her I would,” said Wendy.
“She would be the person of the three of us — myself, Wendy and my other daughter — that could do it,” said Manly Zimmerman, Jacobson’s father.
The promise would take Wendy three years to fulfill.
“My grief was so deep and heavy, I just couldn’t do it,” said Wendy.
“It had to be right time and the right place,” said Zimmerman.
Jan would unknowingly give her daughter the strength in a dedication to her grandchildren.
“We have special bond. I love you, Nana,” said Wendy, as she read the dedication in the book.
“I wanted to carry out the mission I made to her, for them as well, so they could know their grandma,” she said.
Wendy would give anything to spend Mother’s Day with the woman who gave her life, but even in death, the two have found a way to stay connected.
“I think she’d be happy, I think she’d be proud,” she said.