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  • Fairbury News staff

A sendoff of love & support




Supporters gather in honor of Arla Wheeler this week / photo via Ashley Haab.

A sendoff of love and support filled the roads near Chatsworth and Forrest Wednesday afternoon.


The drive-by event was held for Arla Wheeler as she headed to her first day of radiation treatment with her husband, Bryen, by her side. The hope was to brighten Arla’s day as she embarks on this journey and since Bryen is not allowed to go into the treatment center with her due to COVID-19 restrictions.


Friend Ashley Haab organized the sendoff. She and her husband, Brad, are in the same small church group as the Wheelers at the First Baptist Church of Fairbury.


“We have kind of been on this journey with them a little bit so my wife decided to go ahead and throw something together,” said Brad.


Ashley put a message out on Facebook asking family and friends to hang out along the highway to remind Arla she was loved and had plenty of support.


Arla has started several weeks of radiation following the removal of a brain tumor. She will likely have to do chemotherapy after that, according to Brad.


Several cars gathered around Chatsworth, where the Wheelers live, before traveling to Forrest on Route 24 and heading north on Route 47 out of town past the fire station and Ken’s Oil Service. Many of the drivers honked and some lining the route held up messages of encouragement. Fire trucks and a SELCAS Ambulance were parked along the route too.


“If you have purple ‘Arla’ shirts, wear them and bring signs with big wording that say ‘you can do it, we love you, good luck,’ etc.” said a message from Ashley to supporters.


In these uncertain times, one thing is certain: individuals have the community to lean on when things get rough.

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