Maple Grove man's dying wish is to give away everything

Maple Grove resident Bob Karlstrand is dying of pulmonary fibrosis, and he knows the time he last left is short.

Karlstrand is spending his remaining days creating a future for other people by giving away everything he has.

For example, the Air Force veteran's house will be given to Habitat for Humanity so they can house another veteran and their family.

"I think that's better so I can see where it's going," Karlstrand says. "You look in the paper sometimes and you see an estate sale, and you see all this stuff they're going to have to sell when I'm gone. Well, I'm giving stuff away now when I know who's going to get it."

Karlstrand has created an endowment with the University of Minnesota's nursing school, establishing scholarships for years to come.

He considers nurses the backbone of the health industry. Many have helped him get treatments for colon cancer and now his pulmonary fibrosis.

Karlstrand has had the chance to meet with some of the recipients of his scholarship, including Katrina Cuffey.

"Getting the scholarshipswas the answer to a prayer I hadn't even verbalized yet," she says. "He brings a lot of energy and positive energy to the people that are around him... Just has a great spirit about him that we all can learn from."

That sums up a sentiment those close to Karlstrand seem to share -- that it's not just about the money, it's the message and the spirit behind it.

Karlstrand doesn't know how many months or years he has left, but he knows exactly how he's spending them.


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