Team Heather

Strength from Within

Team Heather 2007 is Up and Running

Posted by impersonaltrainers on March 18, 2007


I wish there was a cure for breast cancer in 2002! Because, had there been a cure for breast cancer in 2002, my baby sister Heather would be the thriving, healthy, happy 31 year old wife of Jason Starcher. Had there been a cure for breast cancer in 2002, my baby sister Heather would be the doting, proud mother of very lucky children. Had there been a cure for breast cancer in 2002, my baby sister Heather would be a powerful spokeswoman for the testing of young women in order to receive that cure. And had there been a cure for breast cancer in 2002, my baby sister Heather would not have missed the past five holiday seasons, four Easters, 20 family birthdays, half dozen births, numerous family weddings, anniversaries, and reunions, and countless Gardner-Starcher family moments and laughs.

However, in 2002, there was no cure for breast cancer, and my baby sister Heather became just one more woman who lost her own battle. In 2007, another vibrant, magnificent woman will be diagnosed. It is our job to insure that five years from now, her brother is not writing, “Had there been a cure for breast cancer….”


So, as you may know, the 18th annual 5-K Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure® is on June 2, 2007. This will be the 7th consecutive year Team Heather, a team created in honor of my baby sister Heather Gardner Starcher, has participated in this groundbreaking event. We are determined to surpass our fundraising efforts of last year, where, with the help of folks like you, Team Heather’s 110 team members raised over $50,000. In fact, to date, Team Heather has raised over $100,000 for breast cancer research and treatment.

I would be honored if you aided in Heather’s ongoing battle in 2007, by either:

1) Joining Team Heather and raising funds (click here Team Heather)
2) Sponsoring Team Heather by donating funds (click here
Team Heather)
3) Spreading the message of Team Heather by forwarding this appeal (so easy!)


By now, with literally 1000’s of folks hearing Heather’s story, many already know so much about her. What folks might not know about Heather, though, are the things that make her family and friends miss her presence. So, “Heather,” in the words of those who think of her daily:

“When we were still living in Florida, Brandon and I learned that Heather’s cancer had spread. I was so sad and upset. When I called Heather to tell her how much we loved her, it was obvious that I had been crying. Even though Heather just got this horrible news, she was only concerned about me. She said, ‘What’s wrong? Did something happen with you and Brandon?’ When I said no, she replied, ‘Oh are you crying about me?’ Then in her characteristically upbeat, cheerful voice she said, ‘Don’t worry about me! I’m fine!’ Of course, that only made me cry more.

Throughout her whole bout with cancer, from her diagnosis until she passed away, Heather was always concerned with how everyone else was doing. She didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her. She wanted to enjoy every moment of her life. Finding out she had cancer was not what made Heather this way; it was just the kind of person she had always been as long as I had known her. She was always so positive, so caring, so giving. She always made everyone around her feel lucky to be a part of her life.

We miss Heather so much and will never forget her and the life lessons she has taught us.

We love you, Heather!!”
Christy Burke – Family Friend

“I can first see Heather as a little girl with her long, curly, blond hair. I remember when she cried, it sounded like she had the hiccups. I thought that was so funny. I can imagine how hard it was for her and Scott, my baby brother, to try to keep up and fit in with us.

Somewhere along the way, the cute, little girl who followed us around, and cried a lot, grew into a beautiful, sweet, young woman, who smiled a lot. Isn’t it ironic that she would become one of my heroes? She faced her battle with cancer with such strength and determination. Everytime I talked to her, she wanted to hear about the girls and what they were doing. You would never know by talking to her what she was going through. When life gave her lemons, she made the BEST lemonade, and threw the biggest party so everyone could drink it!

Heather’s faith and spirit helped me to grow in my own faith in ways I can not begin to describe. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding.’ Although she didn’t understand the ‘why?’ she trusted the Lord. I am thankful for the times that the Lord gives us little glimpses as to the “why?” We know that Heather has and continues to do important work.”
Lynne Carmack – Cousin

“When I think of Heather, I think of her unending smile; I think of butterflies and daisies. I remember her wearing a suit of your Mom’s that Becky wore when she was younger – who knew the style would come back? I remember Heather being terrified going over the 7-mile bridge in Key West Florida when we were there for a family reunion. We were laughing at her, but trust me, she did not find it amusing. I remember the bracelets that Shawn and Renee made during Heather’s last days. I have mine and I wear them each and every time I fly somewhere or go on a long car trip. I say a prayer to Heather to keep us safe as we travel and I know that she does just that. Most of all I remember Heather’s courage and strength that everyone around her drew upon. I remember each time I saw her while she was sick, she would ask how I was doing. Here she was, laying in your parent’s family room in a hospital bed, and she wanted to know how I was doing. She always told me she loved me. I do my best to teach my children who Heather is. I only have one picture of Heather with Asia, but it is a picture I treasure; Asia knows who she is and knows that she is in heaven with God. She has asked me before if she can go and see her. How I wish that I could take both of my kids to see her. Heather would adore them. I will make sure that as Asia and Devin grow up they know of Heather and what a wonderful person she was. I will remember that Heather was my friend, my “sister,” and an absolutely amazing woman. I will forever hold her dear to my heart.”
Shelly Hawthorne – Family Friend

Heather had a great smile; she always had one on her face. She had a great personality and was always happy and easy to be with. Heather brought people together; she was the glue that bonded them, a great friend, a leader. Heather had the strength of a giant. Heather had her dad’s nose.”
Robert Gardner – Dad

“One fond memory we have is enjoying her wedding reception. She was so happy! Her hair was growing in curly and she looked so beautiful in her gown. Her big brown eyes were shining so bright. She and Jason entertained us all with those huge, ugly teeth they wore! They visited each and every table with those teeth talking as if they looked normal. They had us in stitches! Her courage and sense of humor were inspiring to us, and I’m sure anyone who knew her. She helps to give us courage every day to fight my own battle with Multiple Sclerosis. I know she is beside me cheering me on. God bless you both.”
Cook & Jack Hurst – Aunt and Uncle

“In 2002, after her second race, Heather looked great and was showing off her wedding album, but she made it clear that she HATED her new hair – all curly and bronze. I thought it was adorable – as she was. Later that day, she and Jason took a little break in the bathroom, and we heard lots of giggling, but I don’t imagine that’s something you want to share with the whole world.”
Laura Meagher – Family Friend

“Heather Gardner Starcher was just a regular woman until diagnosed with breast cancer. Then, she became an advocate, educator, and inspiration. One thing that amazed me about Heather was her undying faith in God. I remember her father bringing her communion everyday when she was in the hospital. I wondered how she could still believe after everything she had went through, and had yet to go through. She made me (a nonbeliever), want to know more. She made me want to have that faith that she cherished so much. I love and miss her so much, but I know that because of that faith she is with God. And he is very lucky!”
Angela Rea – Best Friend

“Heather was fun loving, thoughtful, kind and gutsy. She was a very loyal friend. She was not afraid to stand up and say, ‘this is wrong,’ and follow thru with her convictions.”
Debbie Wilhelm – Neighbor

“There were at least 200 people at Heather and Jason’s wedding. Though we had only known Heather a short time, she insisted that Caroline and I be at her wedding, and that Shawn contact my boss to rearrange my schedule. When it came time to dance with bride, the line stretched around the room. I think everyone danced with Heather that night to celebrate.”
Francine Wargo – Family Friend

“You can only smile when you think of Heather G!”
Scott Phillips – Family Friend

“I learned a great deal from Heather; particularly, lessons about how to approach life and how to treat others. She also helped me realize that having close family and friends is extremely important to living a fulfilling life. Heather always put others before herself, even in her most trying times. She will be forever missed.”
Greg Dooley – Family Friend

“My first memory of Heather is one from very long ago, but one that I will never forget. She was the little sister of one of my good friends. Little did I know that she would later in life marry my brother, be a great friend and sister-in-law to me, and become one of the most memorable people in my oldest son’s life. Logan was 2 years old when he met Heather, and they had an immediate bond. When she became sick, he would sit at the hospital with us for hours at a time and never cry, run around, or do anything else that you would expect of a toddler. He would sit quietly and wait to see his Aunt Heather. She always had a smile for him. To this day he misses his Aunt Heather greatly. There is not a day that goes by that he doesn’t talk about her. I know that she holds an amazing place in his heart and always will.”
Deanna Green – Sister-in-Law


It is important to hear peoples’ memories of a breast cancer victim like Heather in these ways. Each one lost is a life lost – powerful, far-reaching, impactful. Imagine what Heather could have accomplished had she lived.

Supporting Team Heather in one of the three ways listed above is wonderful; supporting the team in more than one of these ways will all but insure we reach our fundraising goal of $50,000 in 2007, and help us to improve the lives of so many mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, friends, and coworkers of all of us.

Thank you very much for your consideration and thank you for your efforts to help end this devastating disease. We love and miss you tremendously Heather!

You can make a difference. Please act now!

Shawn Gardner –
Team Captain, Team Heather


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