Posted: Mar 17, 2012 1:33 PM by Nancy Chen
Updated: Mar 17, 2012 7:00 PM
Jodi Fisher, the Cayucos woman who inspired people worldwide when she passed out free ice cream on her 44th birthday last month, died Saturday morning.
She had been fighting an inoperable form of a rare cancer for the past year and a half. Jodi, along with her husband Shawn and two children, 11-year-old Callie and 9-year-old Jonah, put together a bucket--or "fun"--list to help cope.
"Just going to the pound and playing with the animals," she said last month. "Or ditching school. Whoops. Or going to the movies."
Jodi said she called it her "fun" list to make it sound less morose.
"Nobody knows what their time is," she said. "And by doing these things, I'm not giving up hope. I'm always optimistic and hopeful."
Also included in that list were simple items focused on spending time with her family. But when prodded, she revealed her fantasy items.
"I want to go to the Ellen DeGeneres show, and I'd love to shake President Obama's hand--if we're going to go big here," she said, laughing at the unlikelihood she'd able to achieve that.
It seemed to be fate. A San Luis Obispo couple heard about her wish and forwarded the story to their son who worked in the White House. It turned out that President Obama would be visiting San Francisco five days after her birthday and just three days after her story ran on KSBY News.
And that's where Jodi's dream became a reality. President Obama bee lined his way to Jodi as soon as he stepped off Air Force One, shaking hands with her family and exchanging a hug with Jodi.
"I always felt like if you want something, if just doesn't hurt to ask, and it doesn't hurt to go for it," she said afterwards.
But Jodi wasn't done yet. Less than a week later, she appeared in a surprise visit on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
"I think the experience would be great," she said in a segment about appearing on the show. "I know it would mean a ton to my kids. It could be something that would really just recharge us. Cancer has its ups and downs and so sometimes you just need that little boost or something to look forward to, and so I'd be really grateful to see her. And I think it'd give us that energy that we need to just keep going."
DeGeneres called her and her family down on the show and gave her a $30,000 check from Sara Lee to help cover her children's education costs.
"You're truly inspirational because you've been going through chemo for the last eighteen months," DeGeneres told her. "And you're still smiling, and you just have such a light in your eyes."
Jodi's condition, however, deteriorated in the weeks after her appearance on the "Ellen" show, and she spent most of the time in and out of the hospital.
On Friday afternoon, she said she had made peace with what was happening and was amazed at how strong everyone around her was.
Besides her husband and children, Jodi leaves behind her parents, Doug and Pamela Hamp, along with her twin brother Jeff Hamp.
T-shirts for Jodi can be found here: http://whatwouldjodido.com/
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