Survivor of deadly illness shares story
Dale Reppert recently published the book ‘Detour to Heaven: One Man’s True Journey’
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.”