Terminally ill cancer patient receives surprise of her life

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- A terminally ill cancer patient from Highlands Ranch was able to check an item off her bucket list Sunday.

Deborah Del Monte received the diagnoses in September 2014. Since then, it has been hard to wedge more than a frown from her face.

“Well right now I’m on hospice care. I decided not to get [chemo] treatment anymore,” she said.

But on Sunday, Del Monte was all smiles. In fact, she couldn’t help but laugh the moment she was surprised by her husband and the fine folks at Nature’s Educators.

“I understand you love owls,” said Joyce Remp, a handler with Nature’s Educators.

“I’ve loved them since I was a little girl,” Del Monte said.

No matter how much Del Monte has loved owls, she never has seen one close up. Which is why her husband, Marq, reached out to Nature’s Educators to see if it could help make Del Monte’s dying wish come true.

“If we can make her last days happy and satisfy, then that’s what we’re going to do,” Remp said.

Nature’s Educators sent Remp with a great horned owl, a burrowing owl and an eastern screech owl. Del Monte got to spend a half-hour with them. Her face lit up with excitement the entire time.

“I was just in awe of it all,” she said. “This day was probably up there with having the birth of my twins."

Del Monte has stage 4 breast cancer. More recently, it spread to her brain. She’s on hospice care and is moving into a nursing home on Monday.

Nature’s Educators presented the owls to Del Monte for free.

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