Monica Roberts is a 57-year-old woman who has been battling cancer for 2 years. When she chose to transition to Hillcrest Hospice Care in May, her social worker asked Roberts if there were any outstanding “bucket list” items she wanted to accomplish. The one wish Roberts expressed was to meet her favorite rock star of all time, Mark Farner, original lead singer of the classic rock band, Grand Funk Railroad. After Farner turned away from the rock and roll lifestyle, became a born-again Christian and began a solo career, Roberts was very inspired by his Christian music. Farner’s music has made such an impact on Roberts’ life that she intends to have one of his songs played at her funeral.
Making a Dream Come True
Kayla Rempe, social worker with Hillcrest Hospice, decided to take a chance and see if she would make that wish come true. She reached out to Mark Farner through his web page with an email explaining that Monica Roberts’ last wish was to talk to him. She didn’t expect a response, but a week later Rempe received a call from Farner’s agent/wife to set up the conversation. They determined Skype was the best option, since Roberts is not able to travel and Farner is not touring near Omaha during the summer.
“I didn’t tell Monica that I’d been communicating with the agent until I was sure that it would really happen,” Rempe said. “I ended up breaking the news to her on her birthday! Monica was thrilled. Her daughter got married on Sunday, then she met Mark on Wednesday, so her week was very exciting!”
“He’s just so down to earth,” Monica said after talking to Mark for a half-hour on Wednesday. “It was amazing. I started tearing up and had to end the call. I don’t think I’ll ever get over this.”
History of Grand Funk Railroad
Grand Funk Railroad formed in 1969 as a trio with Mark Farner, Don Brewer and Mel Schacher. They enjoyed several hit songs, including “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” and “We’re an American Band.” After disbanding in 1976, Farner began a solo career and transitioned into contemporary Christian music. He still performs the hits from Grand Funk’s heyday when live in concert. Grand Funk continues to tour with original members Don Brewer and Mel Schacher, who re-established the band with vocalist Max Carl of 38 Special, former Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick and keyboardist Tim Cashion.