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Heidi McClure's Profile

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Despite progress in detecting many cancers, a test for the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer remains out of reach. Little did I know spreading the word about a disease I had never even heard of was soon to become my mission.... I just needed to get past the breast cancer scare first. I think this was Gods warm up for me!

The first time anyone put cancer with my name was 8-28-2006. I was 42 years old and I was scared to death. Breast cancer? Me? I was whisked from the exam room into a consutation room and absolutley flooded with information. While I tried to wrap my mind around what they were telling me they handed me an apointment slip with a date and time on it.
Wow! They were taking care of everything for me! I went home and called my Mom and compared notes. This sounded just like what she had years before.... Long story short I was…

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  • Born on August 4
  • Joined April 5, 2009

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About

Despite progress in detecting many cancers, a test for the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer remains out of reach. Little did I know spreading the word about a disease I had never even heard of was soon to become my mission.... I just needed to get past the breast cancer scare first. I think this was Gods warm up for me!

The first time anyone put cancer with my name was 8-28-2006. I was 42 years old and I was scared to death. Breast cancer? Me? I was whisked from the exam room into a consutation room and absolutley flooded with information. While I tried to wrap my mind around what they were telling me they handed me an apointment slip with a date and time on it.
Wow! They were taking care of everything for me! I went home and called my Mom and compared notes. This sounded just like what she had years before.... Long story short I was not interested in what the local do it all Dr. had to tell me at all.
My Mother took charge and with one phone call set me up with the Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh Pa. One Image guided needle biopsy later and good bye to that little mess.
Had I stayed local the plan was lumpectomy w/biopsy into lymphnodes followed by radiation and or chemotherapy........ ummm No thank you.
Well the Breast cancer bump in the road was nothing compared to what God had in store for me.....

In 2007, roughly 20,000 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States alone. Heidi McClure was one of the many unknown faces of women struggling with not only the diagnosis, but also the life-altering aftermath that ensues.


At age 43, I was diagnosed with stage 3C borderline ovarian cancer. Each time I went to the doctors, the diagnosis got worse. When I went to Pittsburgh, they also found a spot on my left kidney. I thought I was going to die. Ovarian Cancer is a scary . People die from it every day.
Statistics show that the five year survival rate for my diagnosis is 15%. The odds aren’t good but I don’t believe them. I plan to beat this!
One day at a time.
Heidi is not alone with those thoughts. Those who survive the diagnosis, still live with the fear of the unknown, the “what-if’s,” and the memory of a disease that doesn’t trumpet its arrival. This one is silent. Like a thief in the night, it steals your dreams, your aspirations, your hope and sometimes, your life.
Roughly six weeks after the initial diagnosis, she was scheduled for a complete hysterectomy to remove the tumor that had encompassed her entire uterus as well as both ovaries and all other areas it had already spread to. It was possible that a portion of her left kidney would have to be removed and, depending on whether or not the cancer had also spread to her intestines or colon, she faced the possibility of having to have a colostomy bag for the rest of her life.
With all surgery, complications are possible, but her age, strength, and general good health were on her side. Her risks were minimal. Unfortunately, cancer doesn’t discriminate. Age and over all health means nothing to a disease that, when found, is most often in its late stages. A surgery that was scheduled to last four to six hours, took more than nine hours. In the end, a tumor the size of a Nerf football was removed along with her uterus and ovaries. The cancer on her kidney was removed without the loss of her kidney. But, due to the extensive length of time she had to be kept sedated as her gynecological oncologist battled the cancer, all of her organs shut down. Doctors spent six hours trying to revive her organs before pulling her out of sedation. This mean she was out for a total of almost 15 hours. Four days later her lungs collapsed and she had to be put on a ventilator for seven days while her family prayed for her recovery. She remained in the Intensive Care Unit for a total of 19 days. When she finally awoke, she was dubbed “The Sleeping Princess” by her ICU nurses. She was released two days later, only to return the following day with renal failure. One more week in the hospital with a NG tube & she was released again.
Even though, she has been given a second chance at life, when recalling the past year, it still brings tears to her eyes. “It sucks,” she says. “People come up to me and ask if I’m okay or how I’m doing. I say ‘okay,’ but it’s never going to be okay. The type of ovarian cancer I have is recurring. Deep in the back of my mind, there is this little voice that makes you wonder, is this just a stomach ache, or something more?” Yet, everyone around her wants to hear that she’s survived, that she is a survivor, that she is cancer-free. While she is here to tell her story, that doesn’t change the fact that she has heard a knock on death’s door, nor does it change the fact that she still lives in fear of hearing it again.
In September, 2008. Heidi McClure joined the NOCC in their battle on ovarian cancer, participating in the “Walk to Break the Silence.” The Sleeping Princess Team, named after her hospital moniker, raised approximately $3,500.00 in their first year.
Today, she continues to raise money for ovarian cancer awareness through her “Sleeping Princess Cards.” Greeting cards that she humbly describes as “Cards for the Cure.” The proceeds are donated to the“NOCC” through her team at the annual walk along with all the other money the team raises throughout the year.
Heidi no longer works full time. Instead, she spends a great deal of time at home in the log cabin her and her husband, Jerry, built by hand. She tends to a handful of stray “critters” that have come her way and spends a large portion of her time in her “Sassafrass Hill” studio creating beautiful abstract art & jewelry when she is not too busy with the Cards for A Cure!

Despite progress in detecting many cancers, a test for the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer remains out of reach.

Heidi McClure & The Sleeping Princess Team have donated over $21,000 through card sales & fundraisers so far.

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