Throughout the month of March, Cody Deaner was raising funds for the Exeter Villa's "Pedalling Away Age" program through his "Giv'er for Charity" campaign. Cody was raising the funds in honour of his biggest fan, and Exeter Villa resident, Isabelle Becker. The fundraiser took on a whole new meaning when Isabelle passed away in the final week of March.
Cody was able to visit Isabelle at her bedside, which ended up being the day of her passing. He was also asked to speak at Isabelle's funeral.
Cody wrote the following in honour of Isabelle on his Facebook page:
"This was my friend Isabelle...
It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news that possibly the sweetest wrestling fan on the planet, Isabelle Becker, has passed away.
I first met Isabelle at a local Zurich Country Fair wrestling show. I’ll never forget the day I met her. She was sitting in the front row at the show. Surrounded by screaming children. There was an entire row of rowdy, insane children standing up and hooting & hollering. And right there amongst them was Isabelle. With the prettiest smile in the room.
We started a special connection that day. A special connection that can only be understood by two people who share a common love … love for professional wrestling. She started coming to many of my events. Everytime she did, we’d take a picture together and we’d visit for as long as I was able.
A few short months ago, her son Wayne contacted me asking me if I’d pay Isabelle a surprise visit for her 88th birthday. I immediately said yes. I’ll never forget the smile on her face when I arrived. It was that same smile she had in the front row the first day I met her.
Earlier this year, when I started my “Giv’er for Charity” campaign, I knew I wanted to do something in honour of Isabelle. So, throughout the month of March, I have been raising money for the Pedaling Away Age fund at Isabelle’s nursing home – Exeter Villa - Retirement Living and Long Term Care. I was planning on visiting her in a few weeks to deliver the money I’ve raised with the hopes that this Spring she’d be able to enjoy the new wheelchair bicycle the Pedalling Away Age fund has provided. But earlier this week, I got a call …
Her son Wayne told me that Isabelle’s health had taken a turn and she wasn’t doing well. Something in his voice gave me a feeling. A feeling that I needed to see Isabelle as soon as possible. That night, I went to see her.
Her family was so kind and gracious and allowed me to sit alone with Isabelle, who had been transferred to a private room so she could be more comfortable. When I walked into the room, yet again, I’ll never forget her face. There was that smile again. Despite the mass amount of pain she was in… there was that smile.
I sat with her, and held her hand. I told her how special of a person she was and that I’d never forget her. I told her that when I go around and give motivational speeches to young people, I always tell people about my special friend Isabelle. There was that smile again.
When I left, her daughter-in-law thanked me profusely for showing up and how much it meant to them. The next morning, I got a message. The night of our visit… Isabelle passed on.
I was told by her son that in the weeks before her death, Isabelle had my picture beside her bed, and every morning she’d wake up and say, “Hi, Cody.” When it became too painful for her to get out of bed, they moved the picture to her front wall so she could see it. I’m not sure how to process this news. I don’t feel worthy of such admiration from Isabelle. It doesn’t compute with me. She’s the special one. The one with the smile.
This morning, I received yet another message. Her son, Wayne, asked me if I would be willing to say a few words for Isabelle at her funeral. I graciously accepted. I can’t describe how honoured I feel that her family has asked me to do this. I’m used to giving “wrestling promos” every weekend to my fans. But this one will be for one very special fan. This is likely the most important promo I’ll ever give.
I’m still going to meet with her family in the coming weeks to deliver the money we’ve raised for Pedalling Away Age with the “Giv’er for Charity” campaign. But now, that meeting will bring with it so much more meaning.
I KNOW Isabelle is in a better place now. If anyone deserves to go onto a better place of peace, it’s Isabelle. I like to think that right now, she’s reunited with her loved ones. And they’re surrounding her, cheering and hollering upon her arrival. And she’s just sitting there amongst them and their cheers. Like the first day I met her – smiling. There she is with that pretty, Isabelle smile.
Rest in peace, Isabelle. May your smile last forever.
Cody was ultimately able to raise $640 in the month of March for the Pedaling Away Age fund. He will be hand-delivering the money to the Exeter Villa in the coming weeks.
To learn more about the "Giv'er for Charity" campaign and what it's all about, click HERE.
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