After wife of 63 years dies, man catches date with second love
POSTED: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 10:07am
UPDATED: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 10:08am
(CNN) — For years, Allan Munroe refused to leave his wife's side. Norma, his bride of more than six decades, was battling stage four lung cancer.
As her health declined, Munroe welcomed the distraction of his second love: the Boston Red Sox. He kept his TV tuned to his favorite team's games to keep his mind off losing the woman he describes as the "better part of himself."
Norma Munroe died in May. Angela McKinnon said that after her grandmother's death she knew she had to get her grandfather to Fenway one last time, if only because of his age and health.
"After everything that happened, it was a horrible ordeal. We were talking about how life is short, and you just kind of have to make things happen," she said.
Next weekend, Munroe will travel 1,000 miles to see his favorite team play in person for the first time in 50 years. His dream is coming true thanks to the generosity of strangers and a crowd-funding page his granddaughter set up.
McKinnon decided to start a GoFundMe page called "ShipGpaUpToBoston" (named for the Dropkick Murphy's song "I'm Shipping Up To Boston," a Boston sports team anthem.)
"Now is the time for my grandfather's wish to come true, because no one is guaranteed tomorrow," she wrote on the website.
Munroe has had a number of medical setbacks in the past few years, including recently breaking his hip and being in the early stages of dementia.
The family had no money to get Munroe from his home in Florida to Fenway. McKinnon asked for help, but the donations came in slowly. She then started tweeting her grandfather's story to everyone she could.
Eventually, McKinnon's mission to get her grandfather to Boston caught the attention of one very important member of the Red Sox organization: owner John Henry's wife, Linda Pizzuti Henry.
Pizzuti Henry e-mailed McKinnon, saying in part: "Your grandfather sounds like an incredible man. Best of luck with your trip. I will happily provide game tickets, lunch at the game, and a private tour of the ballpark. Let me know the number of tickets needed."
Red Sox spokeswoman Zineb Curran said Pizzuti Henry read about Munroe's story on Twitter and was "touched by how the Red Sox provided such comfort to him while his wife was sick and how his family was doing what they could to create a special experience to share with him."
McKinnon says the response from friends and strangers has been amazing. With the help of the Red Sox and other Boston-area businesses pitching in for the family's airfare and hotel, any money left over from the donations raised will be donated to the Jimmy Fund, an organization that raises funds for adult and pediatric cancer care.
Before the game, the family plans to visit a commemorative brick they bought for Munroe that reads "Allan Munroe Has 2 Tru loves, Norma & The Sox."