Sur­vivor of deadly ill­ness shares story

Dale Rep­pert re­cently pub­lished the book ‘De­tour to Heaven: One Man’s True Jour­ney’

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - FRONT PAGE - By Lisa Mitchell lmitchell@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @kutz­town­pa­triot on Twit­ter

Kutz­town na­tive Dale Rep­pert shares his story of per­se­ver­ance, hope, op­ti­mism and love in his re­cently pub­lished book “De­tour to Heaven: One Man’s True Jour­ney.”

“The book is about my heav­enly ex­pe­ri­ence and how that lead me down a spir­i­tual path in life. The sec­ond les­son is that I re­ally do have a well bal­anced life now, even with all the short

com­ings that all of this has left me with. We’ve been through a lot but my life’s a lot hap­pier. I hope some­one who reads the book can be­lieve that there’s more to life when we’re done and that they’ll eval­u­ate their life and look at it and say maybe they’re re­ally miss­ing out on what’s im­por­tant in life,” said Dale.

Dale said the book came about af­ter be­ing told by doc­tors that he prob­a­bly wasn’t go­ing to live all that long, that he should just live his life. He was also en­cour­aged by friends to write the book.

“Be­fore I passed on I de­cided that I was go­ing to tell my story. I wanted ev­ery­one to know what hap­pened,” said Dale. “The book’s about my heav­enly ex­pe­ri­ence but also about how it lit­er­ally de­toured my life. I had to change. The book’s about how I found a more bal­anced life. In the book I share with oth­ers that my life was all the fi­nan­cial world and it changed from a fi­nan­cial world to one of fi­nan­cial spir­i­tu­ally, try­ing to get more ex­pe­ri­ences.”

His first brain surgery was in 2003 which re­sulted in him con­tract­ing bac­te­rial menin­gi­tis and then sep­tic shock fol­lowed by a sec­ond brain surgery to save his life. Af­ter­ward he was forced to re­tire as a se­nior vice pres­i­dent of a large in­vest­ment firm. About two or three years ago, Dale started to have symp­toms of stroke again. In April 2016, Dale met with a spe­cial­ist. An MRA of Dale’s brain re­vealed oc­clu­sion in the dis­tri­bu­tion of the mid­dle cere­bral artery, and blood flow to his brain was de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. The doc­tor told him it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore he had a ma­jor stroke. That was when he de­cided to write the book about not only his heav­enly ex­pe­ri­ence but also to en­cour­age oth­ers to en­joy life.

In the book on page 134, Dale writes, “I rec­og­nized that I shouldn’t even be alive right now and that there had to be a greater rea­son why God was choos­ing to keep me around. Shar­ing my story was al­ways some­thing I had thought about, and it fi­nally felt like the right time to do so. I fig­ured that if even one per­son was able to find so­lace in my de­pic­tion of Heaven, that I owed it to them to share my story. When times get hope­less and we are filled with de­spair, I hope we can find com­fort in the fact that a place of per­fect peace is await­ing us in God’s king­dom.”

In Septem­ber 2016, Dale un­der­went more tests and the doc­tor of­fered the op­tion of a new brain surgery to ex­tend his life. Dale fin­ished the book two days be­fore his surgery in De­cem­ber 2016.

“I sur­vived that and now we have to wait months to see if the surgery will work or not,” he said. “It was im­por­tant that I tell the story of what hap­pened to me and what I learned. I worked all the time. I had four as­sis­tants. I man­aged all this money and the day I knew I was loos­ing my life, I felt it come over me, none of that meant a darn thing. All that mat­tered was my fam­ily and my faith.”

His wife Louann shared some of the changes she has ob­served in Dale since his ill­ness.

“He’s so nice now to peo­ple. He’s very pos­i­tive,” said Louann.

“It’s op­ti­mism wins over ad­ver­sity if you have the right at­ti­tude,” said Dale. “That’s re­ally the mes­sage of the book. Stay pos­i­tive be­cause there is al­ways some­thing good in a day to see whether it’s see­ing a car­di­nal at my bird feeder. If you have a bad day, there’s al­ways some­thing good.”

Be­fore he be­came sick, Dale said he thought he had it all, fame and money. Af­ter he be­came sick, none of that mat­tered.

“I re­ally did miss out on a lot in life with my own kids be­cause I didn’t have this bal­anced life I re­ally should have had,” said Dale. “God pointed me in a (new) di­rec­tion and gave me a new life... I’m the bet­ter for it. Some­times out of trauma is where hap­pi­ness can come from.”

Louann said Dale’s ill­ness also brought the fam­ily closer to­gether.

“He was work­ing all the time so I was tak­ing care of the kids. Once that hap­pened he had to come first. I be­came a stronger per­son. I be­came very pro­tec­tive over him,” said Louann. “I’m al­ways wor­ried about him.”

“Some say the book is a love story,” added Dale. “It’s told from my per­spec­tive and her per­spec­tive. We thought it was im­por­tant to have it ex­plained from what she went through be­cause she was car­ing for me and do­ing all these things.”

Dale and Louann have been mar­ried 36 years. They met at Kutz­town Univer­sity in the li­brary. They have three grown chil­dren, Tyler, Taryn and Tristin, and two grand­chil­dren.

“Be­fore I was sick, my morn­ing was turn on the fi­nan­cial news. My whole day was fi­nan­cials,” said Dale. “Now I wake up and watch the birds out­side my of­fice win­dow.”

Dale and Louann will go for walks to­gether, play ten­nis, go out to lunch, travel and watch sun­sets.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the lit­tle things in life,” said Dale. “We’re hap­pier.”

The book has been for sale on Ama­zon since Jan­uary 2017.

“We’ve got great re­views... very good feed­back,” said Dale. “It’s our story. We don’t want to preach to any­one... we hope it helps peo­ple to en­joy life.”


Louann and Dale Rep­pert prior to Dale’s brain surgery in De­cem­ber 2016.


Cover of Dale Rep­pert’s book “De­tour to Heaven: One Man’s True Jour­ney.”

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