A woman who was born and raised in Rockingham is helping sick people get their wishes granted.
Beatrice Biggs Parker started Touch Foundation in 1988 after she helped a 9-year-old girl, who had an eye disease, who went to the church she attended.
She asked the little girl, if she could make one wish what would it be. The little girl said she wanted to see Kenny Rogers in concert.
“Three weeks later we had tickets,” Parker said. They traveled from South Carolina to Maryland to attend the concert. Parker said the little girl went blind four days after the concert.
“I just wanted to start helping people who were sick or dying,” she said. Parker said she had been wanting to start the Touch Foundation and thought the first wish she granted was a good opportunity to continue helping people.
Parker has had wishes granted from a variety of people including Clint Eastwood, Cristy Lane and has had three wishes granted by Dale Earnhardt Sr.
When Parker learned that her childhood friend, Patricia Watson, was sick, she did all she could to grant Patricia her wish of getting a souvenir from her favorite NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Parker, who grew up with Watson, learned of Watson’s situation from Peggy Turnage, another childhood friend.
All three women grew up together and all attended Pansy Fetner Elementary School and Hamlet High School. Turnage and Watson graduated in 1956 and Parker graduated a year later in 1957.
Watson was diagnosed with multiple myeloma three and a half years ago. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, multiple myeloma is a cancer that starts in the plasma cells in bone marrow.
Watson has been through chemotherapy for the past two years until it started giving her additional medical problems such as shingles.
She is now anemic because of her illness and has to get blood transfusions about every six weeks.
Watson’s cancer is currently in remission and she’s been taking a medication that is injected into her stomach once a week that “burns like liquid fire,” she said.
She said she loves Dale Earnhardt Jr. because he is handsome and is a good driver.
So, when Parker arrived at Watson’s house to give her a signed Dale Earnhardt Jr. photograph and a letter from the Dale Jr. Foundation, Watson was pleasantly surprised.
“I think that it is great. I really appreciate it,” Watson said.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.