Hi, my name is Lori Ann Blakeley.

Welcome to my Web site developed and maintained on my behalf by my father, Larry Blakeley. http://www.royblakeley.name/larry_blakeley/larryblakeley_photos_jpeg.htm

My father also manages the following Web sites:

Larry Blakeley (Contact Info: larry at larryblakeley.com)

Major Roy James Blakeley (USAF - KIA) (December 10, 1928 - July 22, 1965) - my grandfather

Leslie Blakeley Adkins - my older sister

Evan Blakeley- my younger brother 

A Web page for giving notices of interest to visitors here. http://www.loriblakeley.name/notices_of_interest.htm

Various letters and notes here. http://www.loriblakeley.name/various_notes_letters.htm

What my brother, Evan Blakeley is up to with his baseball. http://www.evanblakeley.name

Jesse Laura, stricken by terminal cancer, had a simple last wish: to party and celebrate life.

So the 21-year-old Dallas man wanted his friends and family to gather this past Saturday at his favorite restaurant for a crawfish and shrimp boil.

But in a turn of events that illustrates life's fragility and unpredictability, the party to celebrate life suddenly took on a poignant new meaning.

Three years ago, Jesse met Mimi Nichols. They fell in love and dated for more than a year. Then in January 2006, Jesse was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive childhood cancer called Ewing's sarcoma.

It is unusual for an adult to be diagnosed with this cancer of the bones or soft tissue. But it strengthened the relationship between Jesse and Mimi. Last summer, he took her to California to celebrate her 21st birthday. He asked her to marry him, and they agreed to delay the engagement until he conquered his cancer.

Jesse moved back into his parents' North Dallas home while he underwent treatments. He and Mimi enjoyed going out to their favorite restaurant, Half Shell's Oyster Bar and Grill in Snider Plaza http://www.fishcitygrill.com/.

But instead of getting better, Jesse got worse.

Then, it became clear his disease was incurable. On Ash Wednesday in February, Jesse came home from the hospital to be under hospice care.

The 2002 W.T. White High graduate was an Eagle Scout, so he knew the virtues of fighting a good fight. Someone was always by his side, whether it was Mimi, his parents, Felix and Nita Laura, or one of his sisters, Rita, 24, Kendall, 18, or Kaitlyn, 12.

A few weeks ago, he told his parents he wanted to have a party to celebrate life. He envisioned a crawfish and shrimp boil at Half Shell's for a few dozen friends and family members. And he told his parents that his last wish was to pay for his sisters' college educations.

He asked that contributions in his memory go to a fund set up to do just that.

Jesse's mother, Nita, recalled how sensitive he was as a little boy. When he was 7 years old, his parents told him they wanted to be foster parents. Jesse thought about it for a moment, then asked his mom, "Will I still be able to sit in your lap?"

As Jesse grew weaker, his celebration became more important to him. He was in and out of the hospital but still wanted to party with friends and family.

That's when the Clayton Dabney Foundation for Kids with Cancer http://www.claytondabney.org/index.html got involved. The foundation's mission is to help families with children in the last stages of terminal cancer create everlasting memories. The help is arranged through the parents and is anonymous to the child.

Because Jesse had a childhood cancer and was treated at Children's Medical Center Dallas, he and his family were eligible for foundation assistance.

"That was a blessing," Nita said.

Half Shell's owners, Bill and Lovett Bayne, agreed to host the crawfish and shrimp boil at no charge. Their fish supplier, Fruge Seafood, donated the crawfish and shrimp. Jesse was elated.

As Saturday's date drew closer, Jesse became more excited about the party. At the same time, he took a turn for the worse.

As the party invitations went out, it was agreed to move the celebration to Jesse's parents' home.

On Thursday, Jesse came home from the hospital and was ready to party. But by the time Saturday rolled around, he had taken another bad turn.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, the guests started arriving, only to be told that Jesse would miss the party because he was bed-ridden and not totally coherent.

Knowing it was Jesse's wish to have a good time, the 60 friends and family proceeded to do so.

His mother was thankful for the turnout. "We knew they were there for Jesse and us," she said. "Jesse touched a lot of lives, and it was humbling to see that on Saturday."

Some folks went in to see Jesse, who was having difficulty breathing.

At 6 p.m., his crawfish and shrimp boil, his celebration of life, ended, and everyone went home.

Less than two hours later, at 7:51 p.m., Jesse took his last breath.

"He was a fighter," Nita said. "He never whined. Whatever it took, he would do. He was very inspirational to a lot of people."

Maggie Graham, a Clayton Dabney Foundation board member, said the group's work is always done anonymously, but this was the first time a beneficiary had invited the group to attend a gathering.

"This is the first time any of us have seen anything like this in person," Ms. Graham said. "It says a lot about Jesse's spirit, and it has been a huge honor for us to be involved."

Jesse's mother remembered her middle child as a thinker, someone who would sit and listen quietly before sharing his opinions.

"We miss him very much, but I feel very blessed," she said.

- "Cancer victim's last wish: Party," Kirk Dooley, Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News, 11:53 AM CDT on Tuesday, April 3, 2007 http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/040307dnmetlastwish.385659e.html

Kirk Dooley is a University Park writer. He can be reached at kirk@texmexbook.com.