Renelle lost her fight against cancer a few months after a raffle was held on this blog to raise money for her medical expenses.
The following information is left to honor her memory. She was a searcher who had humor, guts and determination in spite of the fact that she faced a disease that took away her life. Expenses as a result of that cancer were beyond her capabilities alone. But she had us. The searchers on this blog donated enough money to pay her lofty medical bills and permit her the comfort of not owing anyone and even gave her a small vacation in her last days to a place she always wanted to visit.
Renelle enjoyed the chase, the searchers and the mountains. She had been a ranger at Glacier National Park and at Yellowstone in her short life. She gave, and we gave back.
The searchers looking for Forrest’s treasure chest donated
PLUS SOME CHANGE TO HELP RENELLE IN HER FIGHT AGAINST HER CANCER
This is a Thank You note to everyone from Renelle-
A cancer patient has a lot of different weights on his or her shoulders. In my case, there is the constant out-of-state travel to medical appointments, the daily battle to continue some sort of normality through the fog and sickness caused by years of chemotherapy, and, of course, the reality of the never-ceasing medical bills.
In a single, combined effort from all of you, one of my weights was lifted. To each and every person who participated in the raffle, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your contributions.
Many of you promoted the raffle on your respective blogs, and I want to thank you all for your work on my behalf. It would be logical to assume that so many searchers looking for a single prize would be ultra-competitive with each other! That may be, but you are also community-minded and came together to pull off an event that was successful beyond anyone’s imagination. You all have my respect, my admiration, and most of all, my thanks.
I’d also like to thank the Collected Works Bookstore and Dorothy Massey, who offered a lovely setting in which to host the raffle event. Suzanne Somers offered her support in the days leading up to the event, and I was humbled and grateful to receive her beautiful message. The lovely and gracious Ali McGraw was kind enough to participate in the drawing, and I was so very appreciative of her willingness to lend us her time. Thanks also to Toby Younis, who used his professional abilities to record the raffle event and stream it live. I watched it from my chemo chair and couldn’t contain my smiles.
by forrest fenn
When Renelle Jacobson stepped out of her car in my driveway, and walked toward me, I was charmed at first sight. Her smile telegraphed a timeless message: “Look out world, because here I come.” She had read about my hidden treasure in Hemispheres, the in-flight magazine for United Airlines, and, she said, “I ripped out the pages, stuffed them in my bag, and told the passenger sitting next to me, ‘Oh, I am SO going to find this when I get home.”
With a treasure-hunting partner, she soon hit the road for Yellowstone. “I was bouncing off the walls with an overload of excitement. This adventure is for every little girl and boy who have desperately wanted to look for a hidden treasure. I know I’m silly, but some of us are lucky enough to never completely grow up.” She returned from that first road trip empty-handed but, “We had a blast. I’ve since gone back 3 or 4 times.”
However, there is one small problem; Renelle, 41 and single, has a rare bone cancer called osteosarcoma. A few years of chemo and several surgeries didn’t kill the disease, so, in 2011, her left leg was amputated above the knee. She has a prosthetic leg but the ongoing cancer changes her limb shape. “Sometimes I can walk quite well and sometimes I can’t.”
A friend loaded her in his Bell helicopter and they searched the far reaches of Yellowstone Park.
“We discovered some top secret waterfalls (at least that’s how I romanticized them in my mind). They were out in the middle of nowhere.”
“We also flew over Hebgen Lake and had lunch in West Yellowstone. What a grand day for a cancer patient who is trapped inside most of the time.”
Renelle, whose constitution is made of sinew-tough fiber, is now in her 5th year of chemotherapy. With an expression that reflected her longing, she said to me, “I’m sick 3 to 4 days a week, have low energy the rest of the time and my sleep schedule is often turned upside down. Working on this treasure hunt has given me a way to occupy my time when I’m awake after midnight. When I work on your puzzle for an hour, I can say that I worked toward a goal.” She added, with a voice as soft as her eyes, “I’ll keep working on the poem every night until the moment when I can call my hunting buddies and say, ‘let’s hit the road.” Imagination is her pleasure and faith is her nourishment.
Renelle Jacobson inspires me in a singular way; her spirit holds me in thrall. Each day she tests the extremes in ways I can’t even imagine. To know her even a little bit, as I do, is to love her a lot.
To paraphrase Charlotte Bronte:
Her human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms enrapture when revealed
Below is a link to a personal note from Suzanne Somers to Renelle-