By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Bo Weber lost his mother, Wendy, to ovarian cancer in 2013 and still keenly feels the loss.
To honor the memory of his mother, Weber, a native of Colfax, released his debut music album, “Wendy,” on Sunday, May 14, Mother’s Day, and plans to donate all the proceeds from sales of the compact disk to the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance to benefit those suffering from ovarian cancer.
Bo Weber currently lives in Minneapolis.
Wendy Weber was 50 years old when she died on July 4, 2013, and Bo Weber was 24.
“When you lose a loved one, you officially belong to a club nobody wants to be in,” Weber said.
“There are a lot of people who are hurting and without direction. While I’m in this club, I may as well do some good,” he said.
After Wendy Weber was diagnosed with ovarian cancer early in 2011, she freely talked about the cancer and said she wanted to bring awareness of the disease to others, believing that awareness could help save lives.
Before the diagnosis, the symptoms Wendy Weber experienced were attributed to the symptoms of menopause, but then, doctors detected a mass on her ovary.
Still, her doctor believed it was a benign tumor and recommended surgery to remove it.
As a matter of routine, the tumor was sent to be analyzed.
The mass turned out to be cancerous, and the doctor apologized, saying she did not know how much of it had spread during the surgery and that it should have been removed by a cancer specialist.
Because of the first surgery, Wendy Weber had to wait nearly two months before she could have more surgery and begin chemotherapy.
In her obituary, Wendy was quoted as saying, “God knows I enjoy helping others. I believe He has called on me to spread the word and save lives. As horrible as this disease is, I would not trade my experience. In addition to bringing my family closer and my Christian faith stronger, it has allowed me to meet many amazing people from many different walks of life.”
After Wendy’s first round of chemotherapy treatment, she lost her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. Eventually, the cancer was thought to be in remission.
After that, Wendy’s cancer returned with a vengeance.
Wendy Weber stopped into the Colfax Messenger office after she had been diagnosed and asked that the Messenger publish a story about her battle with ovarian cancer so other women would know her story and might be more aware of the symptoms, which can include bloating and unusual feelings of fullness after eating.
“One in 75 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer,” Bo Weber said.
“There are no early detection tests for ovarian cancer. By the time women are diagnosed, the disease has often reached its final stage. Because of this, the average length of survival is five years,” he said.
Prior to his mother’s illness, Bo Weber, who grew up on a farm near Colfax along with his siblings Arica, Kellie and Calinn, had moved to Minneapolis where he worked on starting a career in music.
During his mother’s illness, he moved home again so he could help his mother and spend more time with her.
But here’s where life went especially sideways for Bo Weber.
Confronted face-to-face with his mother’s illness, Weber spent much of his time in his room with the door shut.
Heavy alcohol use and drug abuse became part of Weber’s daily routine.
In addition, he would borrow Wendy’s car and then disappear with friends for days at a time.
The music video featuring the song “Right Here” on the “Wendy” album depicts Bo Weber once again isolated and alone after his mother’s death. While going through a box of pictures, he comes across a recording of a voicemail from Wendy, asking if he could drive her to the emergency room.
“I was just going to go in your room and ask you to take me to the ER, but you’re not here.”
For those who knew Wendy, the sound of her voice is an especially powerful part of the music video.
Wendy asks if Bo can drive her to the emergency room, but if he cannot, she says “it’s not that big of a deal,” and she can drive herself.
For Mother’s Day in 2013, to show support for his mother and her battle with cancer, Bo Weber shaved his head and surprised her when he visited her in the hospital.
Weber donated the 12 inches of hair cut from his head to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hair pieces to children whose families cannot afford to buy them in the United States and Canada.
Wendy Weber died two months later.
After his mother’s death, as part of the healing process and to “simplify” — Bo Weber sold most of his possessions and has been living in his van and working on writing the songs in the album.
He also has worked for a social media company in Oakdale, Minnesota, for about a year and a half, and he often stays in his van in the company’s parking lot.
Bo Weber hopes that one message people will glean from “Wendy” is not to take family for granted.
Songs on the “Wendy” album include “Her Prayer,” “Her Love,” “Right Here,” “Her Pain,” “In My Head,” “Heartbreaker,” “Drive,” “Her Faith,” “With Me Now,” “Gold,” and “Her Legacy.”
“One of Wendy’s final wishes was to spread awareness of this terrible disease known as ‘The Silent Killer’ in hopes to save others. I feel it is now my duty to help save lives and be sure her selfless wish is fulfilled,” Bo Weber said.
For more information about Weber or his new album, “Wendy,” visit www.boweber.com.