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Illinois hunting and fishing

Ruth Payton, 82, of Macon, in red, watches an American bald eagle, take flight Jan. 8 in Long Branch State Park in Macon, Mo. Photo by Matthew Cavanah/AP.

Terminally ill woman releases bald eagle

January 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM

The Associated Press

A terminally ill Missouri woman got her wish to see a bald eagle, and more.

Ruth Payton, 82, got to help return an injured eagle named Watson to the wild on Jan. 8.

Payton, who is terminally ill with hemolytic anemia, a disease that prematurely destroys red blood cells, said she had always wanted to see a bald eagle.

Her hospice worker, Randi Petre, contacted the University of Missouri’s Raptor Rehabilitation Project, which arranged for Payton to come see Watson be released back into the wild.

The eagle was brought to MU’s Raptor Rehabilitation Project last month after being found in Randolph County with severe lead poisoning, likely the result of ingesting contaminated fish or deer.

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