A Dream Fulfilled
August 26, 2011
By Dave Senko, PGA TOUR Staff
SNOQUALMIE, Wash.—Thursday was a special day for Helen Laier, a culmination of a lifelong dream for the 91-year-old Seattle native.
Thursday was the day she finally had her dream fulfilled.
Thursday was the day she met Fred Couples.
The meeting was made possible, thanks to the staff at the Brookdale Senior Living and Jeremy Bloom’s Wish of a Lifetime, a nonprofit organization dedicated to granting life-enriching wishes to older Americans. Brookdale Senior Living has sponsored this and many other wishes granted by JBWOL.
Laier and her late husband had followed Couples’ career ever since he joined the PGA TOUR in 1981, and on Aug. 25 she followed Couples, a fellow Seattle native, for a few holes at the Boeing Classic pro-am at the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge.
“Oh my goodness, it was everything I ever expected,” said Laier, who became a bit emotional when describing something she thought would never happen. “It was very pleasant, very wonderful. I tell you, I’ve always liked him. My late husband and I followed him for years, and today is just an experience of a lifetime.”
A homemaker for most of her life, Laier and her husband raised five children, who range in age from 45 to 65. It had always been a dream to meet Couples, a local boy who worked his way to a successful career on the PGA TOUR and now the Champions Tour.
“I have done a few make a wish things with some younger kids, some of them are still around, and some of them have passed away, but for her to come all the way here to say hi and to watch a couple of holes is an unbelievable feeling,” said Couples. “It’s overwhelming and very fun to have the opportunity to do something like this.”
An avid golfer herself, Laier recently returned to the course on her 90th birthday after facing a series of serious medical issues, including overcoming a battle with breast cancer, having two knees replaced, recovering from a broken hip and a torn rotator cuff and undergoing numerous other surgeries. Considered a walking miracle by many, Laier has prevailed through each of her medical struggles and maintained an active lifestyle. She lives in the Foundation House, a senior-living community where she currently resides and volunteers.
Laier remains active through her fondness for golf. She has played several times since her hip surgery and frequently watches professional tournaments on television. Living in Federal Way for more than 60 years, Laier closely followed Couples’ career.
“There has never been a swing like his. It is so good—he is so good. From what I hear, his back is better now, which is great,” said Laier, alluding to chronic injury troubles Couples has experienced throughout his career.
To request her wish, Laier filled out a wish application explaining an experience she would like to have. Brookdale residents are encouraged to think about how that experience relates to one or more dimensions of the company’s Optimum Life platform. The six dimensions of Optimum Life are emotional, social, physical, intellectual, spiritual and purposeful.
On that Thursday, you could say that Laier’s meeting with Couples touched on all six dimensions.
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