Iowa Man Granted Dying Wish Through Hawkeye Statue

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PAULLINA, Iowa-- Like many Iowa Hawkeye football fans,  Wilbur Meyer of Paullina is enjoying this season's undefeated start. "I've got a feeling they'll win the majority of their games."

Setting him apart, Wilbur is battling lung cancer and emphysema. "Fighting it good so far," he said, but a pair of heart attacks recently made matters far worse.  "They say a cat has nine lives I think I've used seven don't ya think?"  Now doctors say he may never get to see his favorite team finish the season.  Wilbur said, "He said you can get two days, you can get two weeks or two years."

With little time left he had one dying wish.  "Herky the Hawkeye, always wanted him carved into a tree that we took down."  So the family contacted Jeff Klatt of Storm Lake's Runaway Saws, who they'd seen at the Clay County Fair.  Klatt recalled hearing the news, saying, "Sunday his daughter called crying saying they brought their dad home from hospice and didn't know if he would make it one or two weeks, and he'd sure like to Herky done before he died."

Jeff, who's booked a year out with his work, didn't hesitate,  "It was an honor and I didn't have to think twice to do it.  I lost both my parents to cancer."

Wilbur was thrilled, and said, "It made me happy to get to see that.  It made my day, really made my day."

Due to his health Wilbur didn't have the strength to watch Jeff's work but his family provided updates through pictures.  On Thursday Wilbur made it to this window where he learned more than just his dreams came true.  "It gives me more to fight for, more to keep going.  It gives me some pep and energy."

As Wilbur continues to reach new goals that he sets for himself, he says he isn't going to rule out attending one more Iowa Hawkeye sporting event.

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