Heather Parker

In Honor of Heather Parker -- Survivor and inspiration to all!

Heather Parker is a loving, compassionate young lady who has a great love for life, God and people. She was diagnosed in April, 2009 with a pilocytic astrocytoma on the brain stem. She underwent brain surgery to remove excess fluid on her brain and a partial resection of the tumor. Following the surgery, she endured two months of chemotherapy and then six weeks of radiation. As of August 2011, there was only a small amount of residual tumor left. Dr. G. says she only needs to come back once a year now! Heather is a survivor, and an overcomer. This experience has only made her a strong person, more determined than ever to help others, and be successful in life. Heather is a senior in high school and will be graduating in June. As a result of her experience at Duke Children's Hospital, Heather has chosen to become a Child Life Specialist. She has been accepted and will be attending East Carolina University in the fall. Her ultimate dream is to work at Duke Children's Hospital so that she can be a part of a great team of medical professionals; and make a difference in the lives of other seriously ill children and their families the same way the staff at Duke made a difference in her life. Heather has had so much support from her teachers and counselor. They have helped her work through many of the challenges that she faces as a result of the tumor and treatments. Our church family are always supportive and very encouraging to Heather and our family. We are very thankful for Kellum Baptist Church.

Heather and her dance team, Step Ahead Dance Company, will once again be dancing at Angels Among Us. Heather is an inspiration to all who know her, especially her dance team. A special thanks to a wonderful team and awesome teachers, who are always an encouragement to her! Heather has danced since the age of 3. When she started having dizziness and trouble with balance and coordination during class, her dance teacher noticed that something was wrong and told me about it. We were not sure that Heather would ever be able to dance again, and especially not on a competitive level. The first thing she asked Dr. Fuchs was, "when can I dance?" He told her as soon as she felt like it. Only 4 weeks after brain surgery, Heather was back at dance. No...she wasn't very graceful at first, but she never gave up. She was more determined than ever. Her teacher and her team were ever so patient with her. Heather was not planning to compete with them because she felt that they would do better without her. Her team said, "Heather, we're not dancing without you!" Only 11 months after her surgery, Heather danced in a competition with her team who all, including her, were given VIP's to the next level of competition. Today, Heather is dancing her heart out with her team as they win competitions. Now, when she dances, we all cry thankful tears, that you cannot even tell anything was ever wrong. What a wonderful blessing and inspiration she is to everyone!

Heather prays that someday, no one will have to suffer from a  brain tumor. AT DUKE...THERE IS HOPE!


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