At first glance, the backyard of an otherwise nondescript home in Nampa appeared to be nothing more than the scene of a typical birthday party and barbecue.
There were brightly colored balloons, emblazoned with either “Happy birthday!” or the number 60. There was a grill cooking up the favorites, the smell of hotdogs and hamburgers wafting down the street. There were chips and dips of all varieties, flanked by Boise State blue and orange cupcakes.
But as Susan Frasier quickly realized, the 60th birthday party for her husband proved anything but typical.
Frasier’s husband of 32 years, Kim, is a patient at Harrison’s Hope Hospice with a terminal cancer diagnosis, having been there since January. Hospice, also known as end-of-life care, is generally defined by having six months or less to live, according to Ben Jenkins, a registered nurse at Harrison’s Hope who is Kim’s personal nurse.
At Harrison’s Hope, staff does its best to provide patients with a “last wish.” Frasier, a huge Boise State fan, had the wish to meet former Boise State quarterback and current Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
Moore, the winningest quarterback in college football history, was unable to make it to Nampa to fulfill Frasier’s wish. He did, however, record a video message for Frasier.
Boise State helped coordinate the surprise party for Frasier, as did his family, friends and the staff at Harrison’s Hope.
The gestures brought nearly everyone to tears.
“He loves BSU. You can hear him screaming down the street for BSU. … Kellen Moore just kind of put him over the top there,” Susan said. “That was great.”
In the message, Moore, wearing a Dallas Cowboys hat, thanked Kim for his military service and for being one of the fans who make Boise State so memorable for players and alumni.
The video itself was displayed on a large monitor; the importance of Moore’s message, however, wouldn’t fit on the jumbotron at the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.
“I just wanted to take the time to thank you for all your love and support of the Boise State Broncos. Boise is a special, special place, especially for me. And it’s people like you who made it that way,” Moore said in the message.
Hospice is a frightening proposition for patients, Jenkins said. Giving Frasier some sense of normalcy, comfort and a bit of hope in the form of his favorite Broncos can mean the world.
Kim has written down a list of things he wants to accomplish while he still can, Jenkins said. Among the things on that list were to celebrate his 60th birthday and make it to Boise State football games in the fall.
“What we want to do is educate people and say, hey, it doesn’t have to be a scary thing. You can live your life … and you can do what you want to do,” Jenkins said. “We just keep you comfortable so you can do those things.”
Joining in delivering Moore’s message were current Broncos John Ojukwu and Kole Bailey, who also stuck around to have a burger with Kim. Also there were former Boise State quarterback and current Director of Program Development Taylor Tharp and mascot Buster Bronco.
“We love Boise State fans. They just mean everything to us,” Ojukwu said. “We want to give everything back to them, visiting everybody we can and just reaching out to the community.”
The whole scene resonated deeply for Bailey, who lost his mother to cancer last April. Bailey distinctly remembers the joy his mother had watching Boise State games. To be able to return the favor to a fan was a big deal to him.
“It means a lot to be able to give back to someone that’s in the same situation as my mom was in,” Bailey said. “It makes you grateful for the impact that you can have. You don’t always realize how much you can affect someone’s life, how much you can make their day, influence them, whatever it may be. … It’s powerful to see that.”