Larry Smith has one rule in life. He does not give up. Every time he checks one item off his bucket list, he adds another.
Larry was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer seven years ago. His pancreas was removed, which resulted in his developing untreatable diabetes. For five years, Larry was cancer free, but required to take four shots per day of insulin.
When his cancer returned, Larry decided to start celebrating life with adventures to remember. For his birthday in 2014, he jumped out of an airplane. “What’s the worst that could happen,” Larry observed with humor. “If the chute fails to open, no more chemo for me!”
This summer, Larry and his wife Joyce decided to add a hot air balloon adventure to the list. To raise money to cover the cost, they created an event on Facebook and held a Garage Sale. They gratefully accepted donations from friends. And finally, they tapped into the Hope Fund of Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County to close the last remaining $250 cost gap.
Their balloon trip launched from a field between Piqua and Troy at 6:15 am one beautiful June morning. They traveled at about 20 miles per hour at 1,000 feet up for an hour, landing in the Houston area. “That sunrise was just beautiful!” said Joyce. “I’d recommend a hot air balloon ride to anyone.”
Larry is to make plans for future adventures. Joyce ruled out his proposal for a zip line outing, but riding as a passenger in a drag race at Kil-Kare and a bi-plane ride are still on the table. For Larry, considering what he wants to do next and seeking new adventures is the key to living life fully every day. Larry offers the reminder “tomorrow is never promised, so live life to the fullest.”
Larry’s story is a wonderful example of celebrating life. A hot air balloon ride may not happen daily for most folks, but there are simple ways we can all celebrate life. Find some ideas here.