Alissa Bousquet had spent the better part of a year undergoing chemotherapy for a cancerous tumor doctors found in her breast.
She lived in a small town with her beloved husband, Brad, and her four children. Yet, the size of their hometown did not limit her husband from doing something extraordinary for her final session. From the power of one text message, their small community came together in an incredible way…
Alissa Bousquet was going through her last chemotherapy session. Her husband Brad naturally wanted to do something special to celebrate the momentous occasion. As she sat and waited for her treatment to end, a wonderful surprise entered the hospital room from around the corner. But what had started as a small, very touching gesture from her husband swelled into a deed that reduced all of the other patients to tears.
Living In A Small Town
Brad and Alissa live in a small town. The problem with living in a such small town for some people is that, more often than not, everyone knows your business. However, when you’re in need of support and a helping hand there’s no other place you would rather be.
Great Things From Small Places
The Bousquet family discovered that great strength can sometimes come from the very smallest of communities. When Brad reached out to their relatively tiny town of Oakland, Nebraska, for help, many of its 1,244 residents happily stepped forward to help.
For years, the family of six had lived happily in the town of Oakland, roughly an hour outside Omaha. But back in December 2015 their world suddenly turned upside down when mom Alissa received her devastating news.
When Alissa turned 40, she went for a routine mammogram. Unfortunately, though, it was there she discovered that she had stage one breast cancer. The diagnosis was pretty shocking, as Alissa had no family history of the disease and was showing no apparent symptoms. Alissa was lucky that it was detected at all.
Around one in eight American women unfortunately develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Early diagnosis, however, can have a huge impact on the prognosis. And so, although the news was heartbreaking, the family remained positive and comforted that it had been caught early.
Statistics show that American women have a greater chance of dying from breast cancer than any other kind of the disease, with the sole exception of lung cancer. But the good news, is that breast cancer death rates have been on the decline over the last 25 years. This is due to early detection, improved screening procedures and greater awareness.
In the months following Alissa’s diagnosis, her family and friends all rallied around her. In January Brad posted defiantly on Facebook, “It’s time to kick some cancer’s ass. You’ve got this, Alissa!” Over the following six months Alissa made regular visits to Omaha’s Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center for treatment.
To start, Alissa underwent two lumpectomies to remove the cancerous breast tissue. Then, after a four-week recovery period, she had to go through six rounds of chemotherapy treatment. The final session was scheduled for June 23, 2016.
Amazed By Her Bravery
Brad was blown away by his wife’s bravery throughout the very often grueling treatment. “She has amazed me with her strength, courage and positive attitude,” he wrote on Facebook. “I wanted to do something special… to show her the tremendous love and support she has.”
From One Small Text Message; A Massive Gesture
Her husband began to put a plan in place to mark the occasion. What started as a simple text conversation between a few friends and family members ended in such a massive gesture that it even moved strangers to tears. “I secretly sent a text to several of Alissa’s friends and family,” Brad later explained on Facebook. “I asked them to help me surprise her by showering her in roses.”
A Single Rose
First of all, Brad contacted a local florist. However, a single celebratory bouquet wasn’t exactly what he had in mind. No, Brad’s plan was this: allow people to purchase a single rose for a donation of $10. So, not only would Alissa receive the roses, but a cancer charity would benefit from the profits raised, too.
A Wonderful Surprise
As Alissa casually chatted to her husband during her last ever chemo treatment, she received an overwhelming surprise. In walked her two teenage daughters with four of her best friends, but they didn’t just present her with a couple of bouquets. No, Alissa was in receipt of literally hundreds upon hundreds of colorful roses.
It turns out that the florist had been completely overwhelmed with orders. In fact, as word of Brad’s plan started to spread, the local business found itself inundated with orders. Sales of roses quickly hit the hundred mark, and then, quite rapidly, they passed 300. After 500 roses had been ordered, Brad told the totally bombarded flower shop that it could stop taking orders.
In total, 170 families bought 500 roses in Alissa’s name. The community managed to raise in excess of $4,500 for Susan G. Komen cancer research. And as for a visibly stunned Alissa, well she repeatedly exclaimed over and over, “holy moly, holy moly” as box upon box of absolutely gorgeous roses were placed before her.
So Many Roses
What does someone actually do with 500 roses? Brad and Alissa decided to share the joy with other cancer sufferers undergoing chemo that day. They decided to disperse the flowers among the other patients.
Sharing The Love
As well as the beautiful flowers, each patient received a special note from the Bousquet family. It read, “My family would like to give you the gift of roses. I hope that they add joy to your day.” The letter went on to explain what the community had just achieved.
Outside Support Is Priceless
The note continued, “I know too well what families face when they have a loved one touched by cancer. If there is one thing I have learned form this journey it is that the support of friends and family is priceless.”
Tears Of Joy
It finished, “Please consider these roses a bit of support from our family to yours.” Her husband Brad said that his favorite moment from that day was witnessing the tears of joy that came from surprised patients as they accepted his special delivery.
Kick Cancers Butt
Alissa’s fight is not quite over yet, as she still faces more surgery. But as the Bousquets continue to “kick cancer’s butt with a great attitude,” they hope that she will be cancer-free before the end of the year.
[Featured image credit: Jennifer Griswold @ Facebook]