DON JAQUISH’S WIFE BABBETTE LOVED SUNFLOWERS. So when she died of cancer last year at age 66, Don decided to give her a fitting tribute: he planted nearly 400 acres of sunflowers. Jaquish, a farmer in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, will take the 4.5 miles of sunflowers and sell the seeds, giving the proceeds to hospitals and cancer researchers.
Jaquish has been a grain farmer for over 40 years, and met Babbette when she was selling grain equipment. The two knew each other for a long time before getting married in 2000, as both of their second marriages.
“Everyone that ever met Babbette fell in love with her,” Jaquish told ABC News. “I was just lucky enough to be the guy that she fell in love with.”
Babbette was diagnosed with cancer (multiple myeloma) in 2006, and much of her time was spent in clinical trials. When the Jaquishes saw how important these trials were for treating the cancer — her original diagnosis was that she would die in 2 months, but she made it 9 years — they decided to try and help. It was Babbette’s idea to raise sunflowers, sell them, and give the money to clinical researchers.
But because of her declining help, they were never able to open the business. So when Babbette died, Don decided it would be a fitting tribute to plant the field in her honor. He doesn’t own all of the land they are planted on, so neighbors rented him the property — and from the air, it has turned the entire field yellow.