Revelations: Someone to fight for
By BY JENNIFER PREYSS - JLPREYSS@VICAD.COM
March 1, 2013 at midnight
Updated Feb. 28, 2013 at 9:01 p.m.
Since returning to Texas from my monthlong stint in India, I've experienced many conversations that seem to highlight how long I've been away.
It's almost as if I've been in a coma for 30 days.
Life in Victoria went on as usual just as mine did in a country far, far away.
It's a strange feeling to know I missed so much of my friends' and family's lives.
For the past few days, I've been getting caught up with just about every one I know.
In what seems like a relatively short amount of time, so many things can change and progress.
There was one story, however, that I was excited to learn didn't change too much.
A few weeks before I flew overseas, I interviewed and wrote a short series on Andrew Heard, of Cuero, who was diagnosed in September with stage four lung cancer. The lifelong nonsmoker and Cuero native was given six months to live.
Heard, a former youth pastor, is a man difficult to forget.
His heart for the Lord and people is greater than any I've seen. And I've definitely met my share of Christians.
He's also real about his struggles and honest in his speech. He's not afraid to talk about his battles with cancer and confusion and fear about possibly dying before the end of the year.
He's not afraid to inspire those around him to love the unloveables or forgive the unforgiveables.
He also occasionally cusses, which makes him the coolest (former) pastor alive.
I was excited to learn when I returned from India that Heard hadn't passed away.
He's still hanging on and fighting for a miracle even after recent tests revealed the cancer had moved to his brain and developed into 12 new tumors.
There were already tumors in his lungs and shoulders, and throughout his body.
Some of his doctors are predicting better outcomes than others - one doctor recently said he wouldn't treat him anymore since the cancer is too progressed - but it's Heard's faith community of supporters who are predicting the best outcome of all.
They believe in miracles and the power of prayer.
They believe in Heard's story and feel empowered to fight alongside him. I suppose I want to fight for him, too. I want his wife to have her husband and their 2-year-old daughter, Ellie, to have her father.
I want a miracle for Heard, and I scarcely know him.
On March 9, a community of Cuero residents are throwing a benefit in his honor at Cuero Municipal Park. They're attempting to raise more than $25,000 to offset some of the family's medical expenses, and the event itself looks like it will be a day of fun for the entire family.
There's a reason why Heard continues to motivate others to champion his life. And I think it's because they know how lost the world will be in his death.
Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jenniferpreyss