DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WALA)-- In the final days of his life, 49-year-old Tommy Epperly wanted to leave his family with a happy memory-- a family pastime-- sitting around a bonfire and roasting marshmallows.
“He wanted another good memory for his kids,” said Erica Ramsey-Epperly, Tommy’s wife.
Honoring that request, Erica took to Facebook for help to make that happen on the beach, little did she know it would grow to be a life-changing moment thanks to Jane Walton, who was touched by the Theodore family’s story and pulled strings, moving heaven and earth to fulfill Tommy’s dying wish on Dauphin Island, a place known for its breathtaking sunsets and magical way of making things happen, even in the hardest times.
“If he continues in the route that he’s going… 10 days and that was eight days ago…. it’s hard to watch somebody that is such a big personality deteriorate into themself,” said Erica.
It’s a pain that Jane knows well.
“We know that we’re gonna lose our husbands and having someone that is in the same journey is so important because you can’t really understand unless you’re living in it,” said Walton.
Her husband, Lee, also has pancreatic cancer.
“With my husband Lee, I thought, if I was in her position right now and Lee had a dying wish I would hope that someone would move heaven and earth to make it happen.”
Erica and Jane believe their crossing paths to be divine intervention.
Jane pulled people, not only from Dauphin Island, but across the country together so that the Epperly family didn’t have to lift a finger during their stay.
Everything from the house they stayed at on the beach to their meals and a photographer's time capturing the sweet moments were all donated.
Though Tommy was too exhausted to make it to the bonfire it was a day full of surprises, the greatest of all an $8,000 check pooled together by people near and far to help the family pay their mortgage so they can focus on taking care of Tommy, no longer in fear of losing their home.
“The outpouring was amazing. It came from all over the country, people who come here to visit one a year or twice a year,” said Jane.
The silver lining in a dark cloud for both of them, marking the beginning of a life-long friendship.
“I got your back, you got mine. I love you.I love you.”