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87 donations

This fundraiser ended on 06/16/12

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This scholarship will help another remarkable young woman receive a quality education at Heather’s alma mater, Mount Mercy Academy.

At the young age of 13, Heather Schwabl was faced with the wrenching diagnosis of osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Her treatment called for surgery to remove her leg bone, which was replaced with a metal rod. Chemotherapy and aggressive radiation immediately followed. While most teenagers suffer with the angst and insecurities of fitting in, Heather also contended with the gravity of her illness while wearing a wig and walking with a cane during those difficult years. Yet she carried herself with such a quiet dignity and grace that if you did not know her diagnosis, you may not have realized just how ill she was.

During this time, Heather began her advocacy work for the fight against cancer. She encouraged patients to enjoy life with the disease, appearing in several Roswell Cancer Institute “Roswellness” publications. Heather inspired patients, volunteers and caregivers with her public battle with cancer and her pursuit of new treatment options. A student at Queen of Heaven school when her struggle began, she ventured on to Mount Mercy Academy. Before graduating with honors in 1991, she served as class president for a time and received the “Spirit of Mercy” award in recognition of her determination. She continued her studies at Ithaca College, completing her degree within four years despite treatment setbacks. During periods of intermittent remission, Heather gave of herself through charity work for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and other non-profit organizations, organizing several fundraisers.

After years of fighting osteosarcoma, Heather was diagnosed with another form of deadly cancer, fibrosarcoma, a result of an overexposure to radiation therapy. She continued to endure countless treatments and surgeries. A kidney transplant, full leg amputation and partial pelvis removal were not enough to defeat Heather’s fighting spirit. She received dialysis treatment every few days, and tumors were then discovered on her lungs. With her body unable to endure more chemotherapy she tried new alternative treatments. Up until just weeks before her death, Heather was out with her friends, enjoying life to the fullest. Her journey came to an end on October 4, 2009 at Roswell Cancer Institute at the age of 36.
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