The Compass has confirmed Hope King died Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, at the age of 55.
King, who was battling cancer, was recently granted a special wish. People in her hometown of Harbour Grace managed to gather the resources necessary to fill a hill with snow so the woman and local children could go sliding there, just like she used to as a child.
King is survived by her husband Norm King and children Heidi King and Brent King. The following story was published online Dec. 23 and also appeared in the Dec. 30, 2014, edition of The Compass.
At least one town on the Avalon Peninsula had snow Monday night, and that town was Harbour Grace.
But the snow didn’t fall from the sky like you'd expect. The snow was a special gift for a local woman who made a wish during the toughest battle of her life — cancer.
The brother of Hope King asked her several weeks ago if she had a bucket list following a less than ideal report from her doctor. She didn’t. But she had one wish — to slide down Martin’s Hill again like she did as a child.
Friend and neighbour Linda Smith knew just what to do to make that come true.
“She said, ‘The only thing I want is to slide on that hill.’ I said, ‘My darling, if there’s a way I can do it, you’ll get it,’” Smith told The Compass.
But how would they get snow?
Smith made some phone calls, one to Harbour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes and the other to Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood. Both agreed to help.
So from dawn until dusk on Dec. 22, Smith ran around, concluding plans for a sliding activity for Hope and the locals who wanted to take part in the rare event.
Harbour Grace blocked a section of Doolins Lane to traffic and supplied a dump truck to pick up snow. The Town of Bay Roberts supplied a front-end loader to load snow on the truck.
Mike Adam of the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium and Joyce Morgan of the Bay Arena worked together to make sure there was enough snow to cover the hill.
The result was amazing, according to several parents who attended the sliding event.
“This was worth every ache and pain,” local mom Jaime George, who made and served hot chocolate, said.
Hope, who is 55, was very excited when she saw the hill covered in snow, and over a dozen kids playing on it.
This was the reason for the wish.
“That’s what we done when we grew up,” Hope exclaimed. “That’s where the fun was, up on that hill. They don’t know what it is to come out and enjoy it.”
Noting how kids today are always home on their computers and playing video games, King was happy she could help get the children outside for some sliding fun.
Hope is not letting her diagnosis get her down. She has donated food to those in need and remained positive throughout her fight. This wish was just the icing on the cake for her.
But it wasn’t just a wish for some. Hope, Smith and Harbour Grace Coun. Kathy Tetford grew up as neighbours on the same lane, sliding the same hill. They jokingly referred to themselves as the three musketeers.
“Miracles do happen,” Tetford explained.
Beyond sliding, there were treats to enjoy at the event. There were cups hot chocolate with whipped cream and candy canes, a weiner roast, and lots of marshmallows, all donated by Powell's Supermarket and Breaktime Coffee.
There was also a barrel fire, so people could warm up.
About 100 people, mostly adults, stopped by to give their well wishes to Hope, and wish her luck with her cancer battle.
“All of this came from the heart,” Smith said. “This is what friendship was when I grew up.”