Cuero organizes benefit for man with terminal cancer
By BY JENNIFER PREYSS - JLPREYSS@VICAD.COM
March 4, 2013 at 4:04 p.m.
Updated March 4, 2013 at 9:05 p.m.
There's a chance all the money in the world wouldn't save Andrew Heard's life. But many residents of Cuero are willing to try anyway.
Saturday, Heard will be the guest of honor at the No Regrets benefit at Cuero Municipal Park.
"We are really blown away by the people's generosity," said Heard's wife, Bailey Heard, 28. "I feel like they've treated Andrew like he's Cuero's son."
Heard, 30, who returned to his native Cuero last summer, was diagnosed in September with stage 4 lung cancer. He was given six months to live.
It's Heard's second bout with terminal cancer. He was diagnosed the first time 10 years ago with stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
He survived, but his cells mutated and progressed over time into terminal lung cancer.
But Heard isn't waiting around for a death sentence to kick in.
He's using his final days to motivate others to serve God and people with passion and purpose.
The community of Cuero, it seems, has decided to follow his lead.
Beginning at 6:30 a.m., the benefit's bake sale kicks off.
The all-day benefit will include a golf tournament, 5K run, softball tournament, children's carnival, live and silent auction and a prayer and worship time with The Reliques band.
Chase Graves, the benefit's emcee and Heard's friend and co-worker, said he's honored to serve in any capacity to help the Heard family.
"It's all coming together well, and it's awesome to see what God is doing," Graves said. "I don't want to say he'll die soon, but I know the only way he'll survive this is if God provides a miracle."
A hamburger lunch and barbecue dinner will be served. Live music begins at 3 p.m. with bands including Tommy Elskes, Neal Tolbert, Ashley Duderstadt and Matt Easley, and headliners Jarrod Birmingham and Larry Joe Taylor will be performing at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Money raised from ticket sales will help defray medical expenses of Heard's cancer treatment at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston.
Benefit organizers hope to raise more than $25,000, Graves said.
"More than anything, Andrew's main concern is that he doesn't want (Bailey and Ellie) to struggle financially if he dies," he said.
Graves said he isn't surprised Heard's story has motivated a city to organize a benefit in his honor.
"It's because he loves people so much. It's his legacy - to love God and love people."
Here are some previous stories on Andrew Heard: