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SPECIAL REPORT: "In sickness and health" - Darrell and Lorna Fell of Baxter Springs, Kansas - KOAM TV 7

SPECIAL REPORT: "In sickness and health" - Darrell and Lorna Fell of Baxter Springs, Kansas

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By RHONDA JUSTICE

BAXTER SPRINGS, KAN. - Traditional wedding vows include the words "in sickness and in health".

What would you do if you knew ahead of time the kind of sickness that was going to plague your relationship before you ever said your vows?  Would you carry on or walk away?

 

Darrell and Lorna Fell hold hands in front of their candle and gift shop.  They love their life and say they would not change a thing.

But that does not mean they had it easy.

Darrell lost his first wife after a three year battle with liver cancer.

Lorna lost her husband to brain cancer.

Losing a spouse devastated both of them.

It also gave them common ground.

"Darrell and my folks lived beside each other and everyone knew him but me," Lorna tells us.

Until one day.

"I had a flat tire one day," Lorna says.  "I asked him to change it, so he did."

Darrell asked Lorna out.  She said yes but their courtship had barely started in 2001 when another diagnosis came.

"I had to go see the doctor and get a mammogram and it wasn't good," Lorna says.  "We were sitting in the waiting room and he said 'will you marry me?'  And I said 'oh honey, ask me when I'm well.'"

Knowing how Darrell suffered the loss of his first wife Lorna told him it was okay if he wanted to walk away.

"He looked at me and said 'I'm not going anywhere,'" Lorna says.  "I was really happy he said that."

Darrell was by Lorna's side for a year and a half of chemo and radiation.

"He would take me to my treatments and if he couldn't make it he would find someone to take me," Lorna says.  "I got my strength from him."

"I done a lot of praying," Darrell says.  "I'll tell you how strong a person she is - I'd take her to get her treatments and she'd go to the women who didn't have husbands and tell them they were going to make it and pray with them."

Right after Lorna's last treatment - on August 22, 2003 - the couple said their vows moving out of the sickness and into a life of health.

But they did not turn their backs on others surviving cancer.

Today the two use their business to raise money for area Relay for Life events.

"In six years time we've raised $37,000 through bake sales, candle and craft sales and chicken dinners," Darrell says.

They appreciate the support they get from family, church and friends, but most of all they appreciate each other's commitment  to their vows.

"Every month on the 22nd he has bought me a bouquet of flowers ... since 2003," Lorna says.  "On the year anniversary I still get a bouquet of flowers and he says 'I think I'll keep you another year.'"

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