Help Amara Survive Breast Cancer

In July, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Last year, I found a lump, but my scans were clear.  This year, the scans were not clear.  No one really knows how I could go from zero to sixty so quickly, but one possibility is that mammography has a 10-15% false negative rate.  I had a locally advanced situation involving two tumors in my breast (one of them rather large) and two positive lymph nodes.  The biopsy showed invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 2 (which means not very aggressive or fast growing), and hormone receptor positive (which means that the cancer was using my natural hormones as fuel for growth).  In late August, I had a left modified radical mastectomy with axillary lymph node dissection.  I am recovering now from that surgery, which effectively removed the observable cancer, as well as an appropriate amount of surrounding healthy tissue.

As many of you know, I am committed to helping and empowering others through the practice of Chinese medicine and martial arts.  My husband, Jason, and I have been in private practice for 12 years, bringing up two daughters along the way.  Our practice has adapted to both pregnancies and births, and many of our patients have known our children since they were babies.

Our older daughter gave each of my breasts a name when she was nursing, Thasi and Nooni.  Our younger daughter said last year, “Mom, you have a bone in your nipple” and now we know exactly what she was talking about.  Our children are accustomed to medical discussions and read emotion and body language fluently.  They knew something was up once we started on this journey with cancer.  We were honest with them and held space for their feelings.  We told them Nooni had to go to take the unhealthy part out of me.  It was a crux moment when they saw my stitches and flat chest where Nooni had been.  Our youngest immediately renamed Nooni, and now Scarzy feels appreciated and loved. 

I have missed over two months of work since the diagnosis in July.  After a few more weeks of recovery and physical therapy, I will undergo further treatments to prevent recurrence by addressing any micro-metastases which scans cannot detect.  My husband continues to miss a good deal of work because he has taken time off to care for me and our children.  This journey also brings significant ongoing travel and medical expenses which we continue to navigate and endure.

The nature of my work requires full range of motion and demands physical strength and stamina.  In order to achieve a complete recovery and prevent complications, I must allow myself to heal as fully as possible before returning to work.  Please help us raise these funds so that my family and I can focus on recovery.  All contributions will be used responsibly and respectfully to promote my full recovery so that I can spend the rest of my long life helping people thrive.  

 We have already received much help from friends and family.  We created this fundraiser because of the loving people who, upon hearing of our situation, wish to offer assistance.  We are truly grateful for your contribution either here or to a fund in our name at the Friendly City Food Coop.  Thank you.


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  • Paula Fair 
    • $100 
    • 2 d
  • Sheila Scholfield 
    • $100 
    • 3 d
  • Lora Giessler 
    • $100 
    • 4 d
  • Sam Dot 
    • $100 
    • 5 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 5 d
See all


Amara Franko Heller 
Harrisonburg, VA
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