Heidi Heitkemper is a 15 old sophomore at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon that lives a normal life with her family; watching TV, playing sports and spending time with her best friends. Heidi is also currently fighting High Risk Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; a disease that attacks the lymph nodes and can create tumors in the chest or neck area.
Heidi first noticed tumors on either side of her neck during softball season but didn’t pay any attention to the because they went away. Later that summer, the growths returned and were causing Heidi to be very drowsy and rapidly losing weight. During a visit to the doctor’s office, Heidi mentioned that her shoulder hurt and got a few x-rays that revealed lumps in her shoulder and a mass on her heart. Heidi and her family were sent to the Emergency Room a few days later when some blood she had drawn came back with a high white blood cell count. After hours of waiting and a few ultrasounds and CT scan later, she was admitted to the hospital not knowing a diagnosis.
Heidi has now finished three of five rounds of chemotherapy at the Oncology clinic in Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. She and her family are so grateful for the hospital staff for being authentic and really caring about their patients.