You can’t always control what life throws your way but for the Bousquets, they figured out the perfect plan to make their matriarch ready to conquer her biggest obstacle. One family from Nebraska made the best out a difficult situation and figured out the perfect way to give back to the community that helped them achieve their goal. For Alissa Bousquet, she received more than just a simple gift that matched her last name on what should have been a gloomy day.
The Surprise Celebration
Alissa was finishing her final round of chemotherapy when an unlikely, unexpected surprised slowly lurked from behind a hospital wall corner. What nor Alissa or her husband Brad planned, though, was the way in which this small surprise would explode in a grand gesture that would positively affect other patients in the hospital. Sometimes a little bit of kindness and care for one person can transpire into a world of consideration to a group of people…
Brad & Alissa Bousquet
Brad and Alissa live in a small town, located in Nebraska, and as we all know – it can be difficult to keep the details of your personal life private when you’re a part of a tight-knit community. For this story, in particular, the small town lifestyle and close community of neighbors were just what Brad needed to pull off his sweet surprise for Alissa. It required the community of Oakland to come together and rally around their friends when Alissa least expected it.
Small Community – Big Love
Oakland, Nebraska is made up of 1,244 residents. To prepare his wife’s surprise, that would arrive during her final round of chemotherapy, Brad reached out to every member of his local community and asked their support, as well as their help. The Bousquet children also helped make arrangments and created a time schedule for the town’s residents to coordinate with.
Alissa’s Big News
Alissa, Brad, and their 4 children had been living Oakland, Nebraska for years before experiencing any turbulence in their lives. Located 1 hour outside of Nebraska’s biggest city, Omaha, the Bousquets had enjoyed a quiet life. In December 2015, Alissa received some disconcerting news that would sadden the whole Bousquet clan. The news followed a routine mammogram that Alissa had booked shortly after he 40th birthday.
The First Stage
Following the mammogram, it was discovered that Alissa was in the first stage of breast cancer. The news surprised Alissa, as well as her husband, as her family history had no record of disease and prior to her diagnosis, she showed no signs or symptoms. There was one piece of good news, though, that Alissa and Brad clung on to as they entered the process of chemotherapy.
An Early diagnosis
Since it was in the early stages, Alissa was lucky that the cancer was detected as soon as it was. However, this was a silver lining in the family’s dark cloud. Alissa’s breast cancer diagnosis was caught so early that it could positibely determine the prognosis at a later date. The chances of beating breast cancer is at the first stage have greatly increased over the past decade due to many medical advancements used in the field of oncology.
The Good News…
Statistically speaking, breast cancer is the second leading cause of female deaths following lung cancer. Over the past 2 decades, mortality rates coorelated with breast cancer have steadily been on the decline. Besides early detection, a greater sense of awareness regarding breast cancer and improved scanning technology have led to a more cases of remission now than in the past.
Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center
6 months after her initial diagnosis, Alissa had begun receiving her treatment at Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center, located in Omaha. In January 2016, Brad posted to his facebook page, “It’s time to kick some cancer’s ***! You’ve got this, Alissa!” Little did Alissa know, that this would only be the first of many surprises Brad would publicly give her.
4 Week Recovery
Just before beginning her chemotherapy rounds, Alissa underwent surgery; she had two lumpectomies, which removed and dominant, cancerous tissue lingering within her chest. After the surgery, Alissa endured a 4 week recovery period. Then, it was time to begin chemotherapy. There was a total of 6 rounds to complete and her final session would take place on June 23, 2016.
Brad’s Unconditional Support
Brad continued to speak highly of his wife on Facebook and offered inspiration to their friends and followers who were deeply concerned with Alissa’s health. He wrote, “She has amazed me with her strength, courage and positive attitude. I wanted to do something special… to show her the tremendous love and support she has.”
A Tearful Gesture
What started out a slow-moving plan quickly snowballed into a grand scheme. Brad opened up a dialogue with a few family members where he requested their assistance to help lift Alissa’s mood on the day of her final chemotherapy round. He explained, “I secretly sent a text to several of Alissa’s friends and family. I asked them to help me surprise her by showering her in roses.”
A Shower Of Roses
Brad enlisted the help of a local florist and offered him a deal that was too kind to pass up on. Buyers would purchase a single red rose with a donation of $10 that would be given to a cancer charity. From Brad’s perspective, the idea was just as generous as it was serving to his wife’s happiness. For this loyal husband, a simple bouquet of red roses just simply wouldn’t do.
More Than The Usual Dozen
As Alissa was sitting through her last round of chemotherapy, she was suddenly taken aghast by the display of roses being brought towards her. Her 2 daughters, accompanied by her 4 best friends, were carrying at least 200 hundred technicolor roses in their arms, all for Alissa. The floral collection was the last thing she expected to take home with her from the treatment center that day.
The 500 Order Race
The local florist that Brad had hired for the flower arrangement (quite literally speaking) was flooded with orders. It wasn’t until 500 single roses were purchased that Brad told him he could stop selling and delivering for the day. What did the florist get in return? He received good old fashioned publicity and a sterling reputation!
In Alissa’s name, a total of 170 families purchased roses that day. As a result, $4,500 was donated to Susan G. Komen cancer research. As for Alissa, she was remembered by the treatment center staff as the female patient who kept exclaiming “Holy Moly!” every time a new batch of colorful roses was presented to her.
Sharing Is Caring
At this point, you’re probably wondering how Alissa and Brad managed to get 500 roses back to their place in Oakland. And if so, what did they even do with them? Instead of keeping the flowers to themselves, they decided it would be much nicer to spread the joy with co-patients at the center. Alissa and Brad distributed roses amongst every other patient receiving chemotherapy that day.
Thoughts & Prayers
The Bousquet’s had another trick up their sleeve, though. When presenting the flowers to the other patients, they also had a lovely note written to accompany. A piece of it read, “My family would like to give you the gift of roses. I hope that they add joy to your day.” It followed up with an explanation as to what the Oakland community accomplished earlier that morning.
One of the most touching pieces of the simple, but sweet, letter read “I know too well what families face when they have a loved one touched by cancer. If there is one thing I have learned from this journey it is that the support of friends and family is priceless.” The special and unexpected delivery to each patient made them well up with tears.
Surprising More Patients
The end of the letter was the most touching part of the written anecdote. It said, “Please consider these roses a bit of support from our family to yours.” To the Bousquet family, they were now aware of the fact that they were apart of a unique community that understood and whole-heartedly supported one another, regardless of the type of cancer a patient had. One of Brad’s favorite moments from that special day was witnessing the happiness that exuded from patients receiving their flowers.
Keeping A Great Perspective
Following the grand gesture composed of countless flowers, Alissa and Brad prepared themselves to continue the fight against breast cancer. Alissa is required to undergo further surgical procedure to ensure eventual remission and then, complete recovery. She is expected to be cancer-free sometime during 2017!