Community helps fulfill man's bucket list

Credit: Eric Turner/ KTVB

Jim Bowers of Emmett, Idaho had a "bucket list" he wanted to accomplish after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

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by Dee Sarton

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 24 at 9:50 AM

BOISE -- You may remember the 2007 movie The Bucket List about two terminally ill men who leave the cancer ward behind to cross off life's important to do's -- their "bucket" lists.

KTVB's Dee Sarton recently met a man and his wife on a similar mission. We thought their story seemed appropriate in lieu of Thanksgiving, and remembering what's really important.

Emmett, Idaho has been home to Jim and Audrey Bowers for many years. However, when Jim was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he knew his days were numbered.

Jim's wife, Audrey Bowers, is a registered nurse who devoted every minute of every day to Jim during his illness. She says pancreatic cancer is probably one of the most painful cancers there is, "and for as much pain medication as he's on he should be in a coma."

She was also devoted to Jim's bucket list.

"When it became clear that we weren't winning the battle, I wanted to make sure that if there was something he wanted to do we could do it," Audrey explained.

With that goal in mind, Jim and Audrey began to check items off his bucket list.

On May 9th, the couple renewed their marriage vows. That's when they realized several things they didn't 35 years ago when first married.

"You can always get through the good times, but when the worst times come around, and when you say 'in sickness and in health' you don't realize how devastating sickness can be," Audrey said.

According to Jim, the moment was a tearful one. "Well, It isn't very often that I get tears, but I'm here to tell ya I got tears that night," Jim said.

Next on the bucket list, Jim and Audrey started planning a trip back East to see their kids and grandchildren, including a brand new baby girl. However, that's when Jim's health took a dramatic turn for the worse.

That's when their two sons and daughter made sure two more items on Jim's bucket list got their check marks -- gathering the whole family in Emmett under the same roof where they grew up.

The experience was picture perfect for Jim, expect for the fact that the cancelled trip meant a cancelled helicopter ride, which was a lifelong dream Jim's family had arranged in Boston.

However, KTVB helped out with that part of the list.

It took one call to our "Friday Night Flights" pilot Kevin Sielaff, and Silverhawk Aviation made sure Jim would get his ride. Audrey, on the other hand had no desire to leave the ground. However, it seems though that she just couldn't resist the chance to make another memory.

At that point, Jim had just one bucket list item left to check off, and that's where you come in.

Jim wants you to know that pancreatic cancer is a stealth disease, with very few signs and symptoms.

"Well, after all I've been through I would certainly like to have people be aware of pancreatic cancer," Jim told KTVB.

Jim Bowers passed away November 14th.

His wife Audrey remains dedicated to advocating for patients who have pancreatic cancer. You can find out more information about the disease by clicking on this link for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

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