Saturday poker run in Bayard to honor memory of vital woman

'I'm going to live until I die,' Garwood-Lowe said.

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Tina Garwood-Lowe reached the beach in Ft. Meyers, Fla., and crossed “seeing the ocean” off her bucket list just weeks before she died.

BAYARD – The 3 Broke Girlz Bar and Grill in Bayard will hold its first annual Tina Garwood-Lowe Memorial Poker Run this Saturday in honor of a beloved patron who lost her battle with cancer last December at the age of 47.

Proceeds from the event will support quality of life and final wishes for patients served by HCI Hospice Care Services, the organization that cared for Garwood-Lowe during her final months of life.

The poker run will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a beer garden starting at 4 p.m. and a street dance featuring live music by 4Play Band at 8 p.m. Registration for the poker run is $20 for each motorcycle.

A biker event is a perfect tribute to Garwood-Lowe. She loved riding with her companion, Kirk, on his Harley-Davidson, which she called her “wind therapy” during the final weeks of her life. A sign with the Harley-Davidson logo and the words, “Ride on. In memory of Tina,” hangs in the bar in her memory.

The 3 Broke Girlz Bar and Grill also hosted a Halloween costume party last fall that raised nearly $5,000. Garwood-Lowe used the funds to cross “seeing the ocean” off her bucket list a few weeks before she died, joined by her mother and sister and with help from HCI Hospice Care Services. HCI made arrangements for care to be provided by a Ft. Meyers, Fla., hospice during Garwood-Lowe’s stay.

“It was great for memory making for the three of us,” her mother Paulette Schmidt said. “Tina’s philosophy was never ‘Why me?’ or ‘Poor me.’ It was, ‘Well, I’m going to live until I die.’”

Because of her daughter’s vital attitude and her own health-care career experience, Schmidt called hospice right after her daughter received a terminal diagnosis.

“I wanted whoever was going to be part of this journey to see her when she was herself and vibrant,” Schmidt said. “Too many people wait until the last days and weeks. That isn’t what hospice is for. It’s the time before that.”

HCI Hospice Care Services was also there to help Garwood-Lowe die peacefully at home, according to her wishes. Typically, during routine visits from her hospice care team, her Congo African grey parrot would talk and noisily carry on with Schmidt’s bird. But they were quiet that day.

“It’s like they knew,” Schmidt says. “It was just uncanny.”

This spring, the 14-year-old bird flew away, never to be found – a paradox for a bird of that age who has never flown before.

“Everybody in this town searched for him and said he went to be with Tina,” she said.

“Everyone has been so awesome in this small town,” said Schmidt, who also simultaneously cared for her mother, who died within a month of her daughter. “No one’s forgotten about Tina, and that’s healing,” she aid. “Acknowledging the loss of someone you love helps.”

Garwood-Lowe was one of the first to befriend the event organizer and establishment 3 Broke Girls owner Dawn Dailey-Shepherd when she and her family moved to the area. A shared love of motorcycles and enjoyment of life in the face of significant health issues bonded the two.

“Tina couldn’t walk into that bar without making everyone smile,” Dailey-Shepherd said.

She hopes to raise $1,000 in Saturday’s Tina Garwood-Lowe Memorial Poker Run. The 3 Broke Girlz bar and grill is located at 306 Main St. in Bayard. For more information about Saturday’s event, call 712-651-2451.

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