In Their Shoes 2019

Taking a nap at chemo
Taking a nap at chemo

Heritage Tomatoes

Welcome to the Heritage Tomatoes!

     This team is honor of Ty Kennedy. Ty Kennedy, husband of Leslie Kennedy, and father to Lauren and Duncan Kennedy, had a long battle with prostate cancer. Ty passed away at home surrounded by family in 2011. Though Ty, my father, did not make it to survivorship, we all had a wonderful life with him.

     At the end of my dad's life we had many funny moments that helped ease the pain of his dying.

Here is our story on how we are named the Heritage Tomatoes...

     About two weeks before dad passed in May of 2011, he had me, my brother, and mother surround him. He was in out of consciousness and was not always totally "with it". When he told us to surround him we thought that we was going to say something groundbreaking, or his final goodbyes. Each of us all braced for impact, not knowing what would come out. Dad started off by saying "you guys need to plant those tomatoes". We all instantly looked at each other like well okay then, let's see where this goes. We all asked what type of tomato and dad grew a little flustered, and insisted he was describing "Heritage Tomatoes". My mom, feeling playful proded and asked "where should we plant these tomatoes?". Dad stated, matter-of-factly, that we needed to dig up the driveway and plant them all over the front yard. We all laughed and encouraged the discussion of these tomatoes with Dad. Dad never knew why we though this was so funny, to him it was important.

     Later, my mom looked up and talked with our hospice staff about what had happened. Dad was not being as silly as we thought. In a moment of clarity and confusion, Dad was trying to tell us to get ready. He knew him time was almost up. He knew that we needed to prepare and have what we needed for when he was no longer with us. Though Dad's delivery was not perfect, his love and intention was there.  

     Times like that with Dad are so deeply missed. But I can safely say that me, Duncan, and my mom all have great peace and happiness when we think of these memories.

     Now, seven and a half years later, I work as an oncology social worker at the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support. The work we do is so amazing and was never offered when dad was a cancer patient. Everything we offer is free of charge and includes: counseling, retreats, support groups, integrative therapies, and classes.

So please! Join our team! The Heritage Tomatoes is open to anyone.

Thank you for checking us out.

We love you dad!

With love and gratitude, Lauren KennedyWelcome to the Heritage Tomatoes!



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