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Making Brianna-Mommy Memories

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In April of 2013, Heather McManamy was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer. Despite doing everything "right" (including major surgeries and countless chemos), the cancer has metastasized in her liver and the current treatment is no longer working. In addition to liver mets, the cancer is also starting to grow in her bones. There is still hope. A lot of it. If doctors can find a treatment that will work, she can buy some time. But at some point, that treatment will stop working it and will be on to the next option. There is no cure for Heather's cancer. While cancer can be a chronic condition Heather can live with for awhile, the reality is that most people only get between two to three years. The unfortunate reality is that it is possible that none of the options doctors have will work in this case and it could be much less time than that. Ultimately, no matter how effective the treatments are, Heather will not get the time she had hoped to have with her three year old daughter, Brianna, and her loving husband, Jeff.

Given this information, oncologists have said NOW is the time to do the things The McManamys have always wanted to do. Heather will be in cancer treatment for the rest of her life and as time goes by, the side effects will make her sicker. Now is the time to enjoy things to their fullest while Heather is able to. And there are so many things to do: Disney World (Heather's one dream is to take Bri to see the princesses she loves so much), trips to Kalahari for Bri to splash in the waterpark, and time somewhere relaxing for Jeff and Heather to enjoy each moment peacefully away from the world of hospitals and scanning machines.

The truth is, as much as they never want to ask, they need help. They're going to need a lot of help. While Heather has been able to work over the past year, at some point she will no longer be able to. In addition to medical bills, there are expenses for things like a freezer to keep pre-made dinners so Bri and Jeff don't have to exist on solely McDonald's (as much as Bri would love that). A camera to have something more than cell phone pictures for Bri to look back on. Funeral costs (apparently, dying is expensive). And hopefully a small memorial in Bri and Heather's favorite place, Olbirch Gardens. Anything not needed now will be set aside for a lifetime of dance and swim lessons for Bri and maybe even something to help pay for her college education.

While there is still realistic hope in Heather's situation, and her family is holding onto that, the truth is that there is no way to predict what the future will hold. There could be a very short period of time to live a lifetime's worth of memories. The hope is for Heather to be at peace knowing Jeff and Bri can always hold onto those memories. This time is a gift that so many people don't get to have when their time comes and Heather is incredibly grateful for that. Heather and Jeff are lucky to have many amazing people in their life that want to help and this is one of many ways to do so. Thank you.


  • Andreas Otto
    • $5 
    • 8 yrs


Heather McManamy
Madison, WI

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