OCEAN CITY – Treatments are no longer doing it for a young woman battling Leukemia, as she has chosen to ride life out checking off her bucket list with a fundraiser scheduled this week to help support her adventures.
Heather Byrd, who is turning 24 in April, was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2007 at the age of 16. For the past eight years, Byrd has found herself in remission for no longer than two years before the disease would return and treatment would begin again.
In November, Byrd started the fight against Leukemia for the last time. She returned to John Hopkins Hospital to receive chemotherapy along with other test drugs until her doctors found the treatments were no longer useful.
“The doctors told me two weeks ago the chemo and drugs were not working for me, and the cancer was spreading,” Byrd said on Monday. “It is what it is.”
In learning her fate, Byrd released a Go Fund Me page, www.gofundme.com/walkthedream, seeking financial support for her “bucket list.”
“There are some things I have always wanted to do in life. Going to California has always been one of my biggest goals in wanting to visit the other side of the United States,” Byrd said.
While in California Byrd wants to visit the big cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as the Redwood Forest and coastline.
Byrd’s Go Fund Me page began with a $3,000 goal that was surpassed in days. Now with the announcement of her engagement to fiancé, Corey Anderson, 24, a new goal has been set to reach $6,000 with the idea to get married in upcoming months.
“Of course, getting married is every girl’s dream,” Byrd said. “My fiancé and I have been together for five years. He has been through it all with me.”
There have even been talks of experiencing other parts of the world for a honeymoon, perhaps Hawaii or the bigger picture, Europe.
On top of it all, Byrd is an aspiring model. She began her modeling career prior to her diagnosis but flourished once beginning treatment and becoming a role model for many.
“Through my modeling and my story alone I feel like I have inspired other cancer patients and even other people who haven’t experienced it…the problems they have in life become so minute compared to what I have gone through,” Byrd said.
Byrd has worked at OC Steamers in the 45th Street Village for the past two summers. However, she plans to take this summer off to enjoy life and have her bucket list in action.
“Anyone going through any type of struggle people should try to stay positive because being upset and negative isn’t going to help. Don’t give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
To further support Byrd’s endeavor a fundraiser will be held on Thursday, March 12, at The Original Greene Turtle on 116th St. from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. that will host a silent auction, Chinese auction and raffles.
Businesses who are interested in supporting the event or for more information contact Robyn Baker at 410-629-9134.