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Angels lift Penticton woman to concert

Local companies help Loretta Lynn fan overcome medical challenges to get to concert
Kathrine Lucier spends a moment with her mom Rita at a special suite at the South Okanagan Events Centre prior to the start of the Lorretta Lynne concert. Thanks to a number of people and organizations Rita was able to attend the show by her favourite performer after being injured in a fall.

As the daughter of a Nova Scotia coal miner, Rita Lucier lived the music that made Loretta Lynn a country legend.

So when Rita’s daughter Kathrine learned about Lynn’s concert this week at the South Okanagan Events Centre, she quickly grabbed a pair of tickets for herself and her 91-year-old mother.

However, several days before the performance the unthinkable happened; Rita fell, hitting her head and injuring her back.

As the clock ticked down to showtime it became clear her mother was not going to be released from hospital or even be able to sit in a chair.

Unable to sit by and watch the special opportunity slip away, Kathrine set out to do whatever she could to make her mom’s dream come true.

What happened next — in the course of a day — were a series of events Kathrine still can’t believe.

A letter she sent to a friend quickly began circulating throughout the community and the response was immediate. Medi-Van Canada offered not only free transportation but use of a specialized gurney and the services of two certified attendants.

As well, Global Spectrum did its part to accommodate Rita, eventually upgrading her to a curtained suite so she could remain on the gurney and still see her idol.

The necessary medical clearance was given and the concert was back on for Rita.

On the night of the show the Medi-Van Canada vehicle arrived at Penticton Regional Hospital just before 8 p.m. and Rita, wearing her favourite red dress, was whisked away to the SOEC.

“I believe that you can move heaven and earth so I just put it out there,” said Kathrine. “It was serendipitous the way it unfolded but I trusted that. I had no expectations, I just saw us going and so we got our knights in shining armour and we got the carriage.

“I believe in the miracles and the magic and all we have to do is ask.”

She called those who helped “earth angels,” and believed her father Art, who died two years ago, was smiling down on the family.

“I just think dad’s kind of got his eye on mom and helped this move along,” said Kathrine. “It’s my joy to be able to participate in this part of her journey. I know what this meant to her in the moment and that moment is her forever.”

One of those moments was when Lynn, 81, sang Rita’s favourite ballad, Coal Miner’s Daughter, a song about Lynn’s own childhood.

According to Kevin Webb of Global Spectrum, the request for someone to watch a show from their bedside was unusual but one they were willing to do whatever it took to make happen.

“This is all about the human touch. I mean Rita is 91 and is a really big fan and it would have terrible if she missed it,” said Webb. “It’s really hard to put a value on something like this. It’s not something that we can do every single show but it was something we could accommodate for this one.”

Operations manager Stefan Legal of Medi-Van agreed with the importance of assisting a special person at a difficult time.

“After reading the letter and all those different scenarios, we just really wanted to help her out and that’s why we’re here tonight,” said Legal. “We realized this was one of her wishes and if we could help make that happen that’s really wonderful. It’s all about the person.”

While Rita didn’t talk during the show, the occasional toe tap and smile spoke volumes.

The one word she did say at the end of the concert: