Cuero man who wrote book loses battle with lung cancer
Jennifer Lee Preyss
July 26, 2013 at 2:26 a.m.
Updated July 27, 2013 at 2:27 a.m.
In the quiet of his parent's Cuero home, the back, first-floor bedroom where he's battled cancer for the second time in his short life, Andrew Heard finally lost the fight.
Heard died Friday at 7:20 a.m. He was 30 years old.
"He was really quiet last night. He wasn't waking up too much, but he wasn't in too much pain," said Heard's friend, Chase Graves, who was with him Thursday night at his home. "He was able to tell us all that he loved us, and he loved me. It was like he knew he was going to pass away."
Graves said he was visiting with Heard until about 11 p.m. Thursday and noticed his breathing was somewhat irregular before he fell asleep.
Heard, of Cuero, was diagnosed Sept. 11, 2012, with stage 4 lung cancer. He was a lifelong nonsmoker.
It was his second encounter with terminal cancer. He was diagnosed 10 years ago with stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which may have mutated his cells over time into the cancerous tumors in his lungs and shoulders.
Heard said when he spoke to the Advocate in December that his doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston had given him a 4 percent chance of surviving and told him that he would likely die within six months.
He beat their estimation by about four months.
"Of course, my heart is broken, but he passed away peacefully. It makes me smile that he's hanging out with Jesus. He doesn't have any cancer in his body, and he doesn't hurt anymore, and that makes me happy. He's safe at home now," Graves said.
Heard was a licensed youth pastor at a Baptist church in Dallas and completed a master's in divinity from Baylor University.
He returned to Cuero last year when he temporarily stepped down from ministry and began working at Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers in Victoria with Graves.
Heard resumed his ministry and used his final months to reach out to the masses about trusting the Lord. He traveled the state speaking in churches about his faith struggles and cancer woes, encouraging others not to give up on God. He wanted to use his final months to praise God and let his followers know they can trust and know God intimately in the midst of illness and despair.
Heard completed his nonfiction manuscript, "A Gray Faith," which was recently published by Carpenters Son Publishing. He blogged often on his website andrewbheard.com and finished a book of inspirational cartoons for his 2-year-old daughter, Ellie.
"I think in the last couple of months, just seeing how Facebook was blowing up, he was able to spread the message of loving God so you can love people. I think people are starting to see that because of Andrew," Graves said.
Heard's funeral is pending with Freund Funeral Home in Cuero. A memorial service will be Aug. 3 at Cuero High School. Service times have not yet been determined.
Graves said Heard will be cremated.
He is survived by his wife, Bailey Heard, 28, and daughter Ellie.
"He knew he wasn't going to be healed and that he was going to be healed in heaven. He finished his book, and he finished his book for Ellie, and that's what he wanted to do," Graves said. "And he wanted to share his legacy about God's love. And not just because he had cancer but because that's what we're supposed to do."