Several weeks ago Whitney was checking out while shopping and noticed a "never give up" bracelet on the cashier's wrist. Like tattoos, we always have to ask what someone's bracelet means. As Tabitha shared, a beautiful story unfolded of family, love, and suffering. Tabitha connected us to her aunt Jodi to hear the full story. 

Hi Jodi! Tell us a little about yourself and how you originally connected with MudLOVE.

We have been coming to Winona Lake since the kids were little to walk around the shops, paint pottery and have ice cream. Tucked away behind Pottery Bayou was a cute little store the girls would like to frequently stop by named Belove. I didn’t know then that the frequent visits would lead us some years later to a piece of jewelry we all hold so close to our hearts.

Jodi & her kids Connor, Trent, and Courtney

Today we're honoring the legacy of someone you were very close to. Tell us a little about him and his story.

My dad was a great man. He was a contractor. He was very hard working and he was willing to help anyone who needed it. He loved his garden. He loved his family and grandkids and all of his friends. I, of course, think I was his favorite! I spent many mornings while driving my kids to school talking to him about what’s going on in the world today. My dad was my rock.

Jack Foster

In May 2016 dad started not feeling well, we went to a doctor appointment, we were sent in June to another specialist. Dad was put on a special diet (my niece did awesome at preparing him home cooked meals), blood work, X-rays. Couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I left the end of June for an out of town funeral and when I came home the beginning of July he could barely walk. I took him to Fort Wayne to the ER. They did a CT and gave him some fluid. He walked out just like normal.  A couple days later for a follow up with the family doctor he was weak and barely getting around. They order a CT with contrast. The next morning I got the call.. it was a brain tumor. I was in absolute disbelief.  So we waited for an appointment with the oncologist and then with the neurosurgeon. Well in order to find out what kind of cancer we had to do a biopsy. My dad was always healthy. So in we went - he did well. This was in August. Unfortunately the noise in the ICU made him very agitated, so we brought him home, which lead to other problems. Due to the location of the tumor (near his thalamus) it was inoperable. They gave him 18 months. We would take it. Everyday would be a blessing.

The Foster family

Once he was able we started radiation and he seemed to be doing well, however he wasn’t walking and getting around like he should. We kept moving forward hoping for the best, hoping for a miracle. I wasn’t ready to lose my dad. We continued treatments and my sister and I would take turns staying up with him. Once he knew he had the tumor he wouldn’t lay down. He spent the later part of August and early September at my home at night and during the day I would take him home to be with my mom. My dad spent as much of June, July and August as he possibly could on his lawn mower. He loved mowing and taking care of his lawn. We would walk within a safe distance to make sure he was ok. Grandkids and his kids all took turns. He never once complained of anything. So for that we are so thankful!

In September we took him in to the oncologist and they ordered an ultrasound. He has a blood clot in his leg. At that point he was admitted. His condition deteriorated quickly. On Tuesday, September 20th my dad said to me “Jo, no better - let’s go home” so we made the arrangements to get him home Wednesday. He passed away Thursday evening September 22nd, 2016 surrounded by his family. We never gave up. He was buried with his bracelet.

What does the phrase "never give up." mean to you and your family?

When he started not feeling well, I spoke to a family friend that was a doctor and he told me he thought my dad had just given up. I said no way, my dad is strong. There is no way he would ever give up on his family! When I found that bracelet I just knew it was meant for us!

How does MudLOVE play into your story?

When I found out my dad had something serious going on, I went to MudLOVE and bought several members of my family bracelets that said “never give up’ with their favorite color bands. Each is different. I wanted to make sure my dad knew we we all here for him and that we would never give up!

How do you continue to honor your dad today? We hear there's a tattoo involved?

Todd (Jack's grandson) says, "Yes. The tree symbolizes strength, and the things in the roots, including my grandpa's last name name, Foster, are what gives me strength everyday to push forward. Adding it permanently is a reminder to “never give up”. The rest of us wear our bracelet everyday."

Todd and his grandmother LouAnn

Todd's tattoo

This week is the 5 year anniversary of Jack Foster's passing after complications from High-Grade B-cell Lymphoma. We are so thankful to his family for allowing us to visit his family home, take some photos, and share his legacy with you. 

Special thanks to Tabitha for connecting us, and to Jodi who relived those 4 months in order to write their story.

Have a story to share with us? Do it HERE.

L-R: Kathy, LouAnn, Jodi, Brent

L-R: Todd, Kathy, Tabitha

Todd named his business after his grandfather