Family decorates car to honor mother - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Family decorates car to honor mother

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)-- You've heard the phrase, one person's trash is another's treasure. Well, a local family is proving just that.

In 2007 Tracie Schlesser died of cervical cancer at the age of 44 and her family is committed to keeping their mother's memory alive.

Every day, Midwest Signtech of Rochester takes an idea and brings it to life.

Jennifer Van Den Hemel says, "It brings tears and it's so hard not to cry."

It's been 5 years since her mother died of cervical cancer.

Jennifer Van Den Hemel says, "When mother was first diagnosed they did an emergency hysterectomy and they thought they had gotten it all so she went out and was wanting to celebrate."

She found freedom in a Ford Taurus SHO, but sold it due to medical bills.

Jennifer Van Den Hemel says, "Ironically, it came back to us. It actually came back to a neighbor of ours. And like my brother said, it was left pretty much for dead. Nobody wanted it."

Now, Tracie's four children are peeling away their grief, and turning it into a way to raise awareness.

Jennifer Van Den Hemel says, "If we can bring awareness and have somebody be checked, be tested, long before they get too sick to fight the battle, that's what we want to do."

Jeremiah Van Den Hemel says, "It went too fast. How long? Five years she was sick. It seemed like six months."

Every time one of them drives the revamped car, they say they'll think of her.

Jessica Willmert says, "She loved this car, from the minute she saw it she was all excited about it."

Now it comes with a special message that can be read from above. 

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Their brother, Josh Jacobson, wasn't able to make it today but plans to participate in the cervical cancer awareness events they'll be attending.

They plan on joining the Booker Mini Foundation and taking the car to parades.

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