Eau Claire man's sunflowers to honor late wife being harvested, - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Eau Claire man's sunflowers to honor late wife being harvested, seed proceeds going to cancer research

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EAU CLAIRE COUNTY (WQOW)-- Summer is setting and the miles of gold along Highway 85 have faded to brown, but with a new season comes new life. The fall harvest is giving wilted sunflowers a fresh purpose.

When the Wisconsin air turns crisp and the leaves are clinging to life, it's time for farmers to collect the products of a summer-long of sweat-breaking labor.

Earlier this summer flowers stood tall and shone bright, greeting drivers along Highway 85 with a sunny surprise.

Jennifer White, Babbette Jaquish's daughter, said, "I called these fields here our yellow fields of healing because I think a lot of people found healing not in what we did but the sunflowers themselves."

It's been three months since word of the sunflower sea stretched into other states and across the world. White said, "Our family never imagined that the story would inspire as many people as it has."

Gwelda Glaus, Babbette's mother said, "When the call came from China, I couldn't believe it. And then the other countries started calling, just unreal."

Babbette, a cherished mother, daughter and wife was the inspiration behind it all. Don Jaquish, Babbette's husband, said, "Still painful, and I miss Babbette a lot."

With the harvest season, comes a heavy anniversary. He said, "Babbette died November 17th... It's going to be hard."

It will be one year since Babbette died, after a nearly nine year battle with cancer.

White said, "My mom was the kind of person that she gave everything of herself, for other people and we're just trying to continue on her legacy."

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

The story reached many, including Sheyenne Tooling & Manufacturing in North Dakota, who donated the use of the piece of equipment you saw harvesting the sunflowers.

Those seeds will be for sale. The bird seed will be sold through local retail stores for $15.95 a bag. For a full list of locations, click here

The family is in the process of making Babbette's Seeds of Hope a non-profit foundation and hope to continue the project for years to come.

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