- I am deeply saddened. Also I was deeply touched by her ongoing battle to overcome her illness. It's a sad day for the running community. – Norm Haines (S. California RRCA Representative)
- She was my angel. I remember running the LB Marathon, I think this was 3 years ago. It was a hot day, I was running on Studebaker, you know that long, flat boring street? I almost gave up on running in the race when I saw Heather, volunteering at the water station. It was so nice seeing her, when she herself was going thru a lot with her own illness. That’s when she became my angel. I think of her when I am going through bad days, how strong she was to fight her illness for a long time. – Laura Chaides
- I didn't know Heather well, just to smile, nod and say "hey". What struck me about her was how important her friends and loved ones were, and how grateful she was for them. It seems like she was always smiling whenever I saw her.
I always read her columns in the newsletter; she was a very articulate and entertaining writer. Her articles made my own problems and concerns seem small by comparison, and made me appreciate all the more this gift we have been given.
I lost another very dear friend to cancer last year. It is never easy. But our lives are always better by having been touched by them. -- Rick Sanger
- I met Heather at one of the first AREC runs I'd attended in late summer of 2001. Before the run, she tearfully thanked everyone for their thoughts and prayers as she reported great news about her progress toward recovery. After the run, I introduced myself and told her how glad I was to hear her good news. That was the first time I was treated to that amazing smile and sparkle in her eyes. And every single time I greeted her since that first time, I was treated to that same magical smile, which told you she was completely focused on you. Not only the beautiful smile, but she'd almost always accompany it with a, "Hi, darlin’,” or "Hi, sweetie.” What a tremendous lift for a guy struggling through divorce and trying to figure out how to live again. This incredible woman, stronger than anyone I've known, fighting through pain I could never imagine, lifting my spirits with her warmth and attention.
I will forever cherish the few times I was able to run alongside her. Probably most especially, at two of Connor's cross-country meets this past fall. It was amazing and so much fun, as she would lead me from one spot to the next, saying, "Come on Steve, we've got to hurry to catch him at mile 2." What an honor it was sharing in her joy and pride at cheering on Connor. Heather has made this world more beautiful in so many ways, and by far the most illustrious is through her marvelous son, Connor.
The way I see it, cancer did not beat Heather. Not at all. Her loving spirit, her kind and caring soul, her incredible will and determination would never allow it.
Heather has taught me (and undoubtedly all who knew her) an awful lot about strength and character. Thank you Heather! Peace to Heather! -- Steve Schatz
- I only met her once and then for only a minute when we did the Heather Run last year. What amazed me was her courage, her acceptance, and her emotion of how many people came to support her as an individual and as a runner. Her relationship with her son was extremely noteworthy and I am sure that the love they had will be a guiding light for him throughout his life. As Emmett requested, she will be in our thoughts and prayers, and act as a motivation for courage and determination. -- Don Carkeek
- I remember Heather being at the Long Beach Marathon the last couple of years, sitting on the side, cheering on everyone she knew. I remember her at the hot and difficult part on Studebaker. -- Bob Beachler
- Two weeks before the Long Beach Marathon in 2003, I first came to AREC. Heather had already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. When I ran the marathon, Heather and Connor were at the water station at mile 18. It was uplifting to see her there, providing support for the runners. She told me that I looked great, which I know wasn't true, it was great to hear. She has always been a positive, upbeat person and has provided me with such inspiration. I will miss you Heather and God bless. -- Colleen Shea
- Heather was an inspiration to us all! I'll miss her smile. The simple fact of living with the knowledge of imminent death and glowing as she always did, set her aside from the rest. A standard with which I will hopefully follow to my grave. She made my trials and divorce seem minor. Even when it got tough for her, she always took me aside and gave me a vote of confidence. A true honor to have been a part of her life. I will miss her and envy the legacy that she's left behind.
Heather: No more pain! Take hold of the hand of God. He's proud of you, and so are the rest of us at AREC.
Your forever friend, Tim Hickok
- I first "met" Heather by reading one of her diary articles that Emmett published in the AREC newsletter several years ago. I recall thinking at that time that it had been too many years prior to that when I was last so impressed by one person's ability to express themself in such cogent and lyrical terms. I was so taken with her writing that I sought her out at the AREC run the following Wednesday (she was still running at the time) to tell her how much I admired her creativity, her sensitivity and her ability to communicate in a way that reached inside me and yanked on some primal chord to pull me into her life.
Over time, I was happy to have been pulled into that life's struggle. I have never met a person who was so determined, so positive, so humble. I will forever remember her commitment to her son, to her family and to all of the friends who through their collective spirits gave hope to Heather. My hope at this time is that all of us carry a little bit of Heather with us as we go forward in our lives. I know my life is better for having had the chance to meet her and to tangently pass through our life's intersections as friends. -- Dave Kuntz
- Prior to meeting Heather, I avoided fundraising assignments. The idea of asking people for money made me uncomfortable. Then I met Heather and got involved with planning the Hope for Heather run/walk. Fundraising became an honor, not a chore. I realized how easy it can be to ask for money for a worthy cause -- our Heather. Although I only knew Heather for a little over a year, she has inspired me and I will never forget her. The way I plan to keep Heather's memory alive is to exercise, especially on days that I don't feel like it, because I can and Heather would if she could. – Katy Thomas
- I was at the Seattle airport on a Monday morning, awaiting my weekly flight to Long Beach, when I got the news that my brother, Rob, was diagnosed with colon cancer. The following Wednesday, Heather told me that she was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But when I spoke with her, she didn't focus at all on her disease, instead she offered suggestions and advice on how to support my brother through his cancer. It was as if she wasn't ill and was completely healthy. She opened up to me and provided an optimism and inspiration that I would have never known. She never gave up and provided that hopefulness to me and my brother, someone she has never met. The people at AREC provided to Heather that same support during these last few years. We will miss you and always remember you, Heather. – Rich Satow
- I will always remember Heather, those blue eyes and her smile no matter how she was feeling. -- Roberta Bonifacio
- When I first joined AREC (just over 3 years now), I had the opportunity to run with Heather at one of the Wednesday runs. I didn’t know about her disease before the run, but as we had the chance to run and talk, we shared about our own lives. She told me that she “went and got this disease” and continued to describe her battle to me. She told me the startling statistics of one who gets pancreatic cancer and yet she didn’t even seem alarmed by them. She spoke of it with such a positivity and a confidence that I just knew that I had met someone very special. I was so impressed by her attitude and her toughness to beat what she had. And through the years, she continued to impress me and inspire me in so many ways. I will always remember her, especially on those days when I am feeling lazy and unmotivated to run. I will run for her and in her memory. Heather, thank you for your spirit and the gifts you have given us. We will always remember you and we will be there for Connor, whenever he needs us. Much love, Tam Premsrirath
- I have been around collegiate and professional athletics since my very early childhood and Heather was the toughest person that I have ever known. She stood apart as an inspiration to others and will remain so. -- Bernard Dean Mills
- Like most of us, I'll remember Heather for her beautiful smile, her thoughtful newsletter articles, and her gutsy attitude. There is also a certain place on my daily run where I will recall a periodic honk of a horn and her waving as I jogged. And if I ever do the full Long Beach Marathon again, I will see that same welcoming and encouraging face as I near the end of the interminable Studebaker Road stretch. Heather's spirit and memories remain with us. -- Dennis Murphy
- The image I remember most of Heather is while running my first Long Beach Marathon, October of 2005, coming up the hill and seeing her there like an angel, so beautiful and handing out water to the runners and smiling at us. -- Dona McBride
- Here are a couple of things I remember about Heather...
She always had the most astute advice and views on relationships. She could quickly and accurately nail down what was going on with me and how to handle it. But as most of us do, she rarely took her own advice.
My favorite phrase of Heather's was: "A drowning lifeguard saves none.” In other words, how can you save someone else if you can't save yourself? Only after you take care of your own problems are you able to offer assistance to others. – Todd Rose
- The first time I met Heather was when she showed up to one of Tommy Robles's Endurance Junkies Friday swims. She had a shaved head and I didn't know anything about her condition. I just thought she was gorgeous. Tommy told me a couple of weeks later that she was battling Cushing’s Disease. I was dumbfounded. She looked better than most-- much better. After that, each time I would see Heather, she and I just clicked. I wish I could explain it, but soon every time we saw each other, we always hugged. There was something about her that made me love her instantly, and I didn't know a whole hell of a lot about her. What I came to know about her was how great she was, how loyal and how strong she was. To have her as my friend was truly a blessing. Each time I saw Heather, I felt closer to her. For the battle she waged and for how long, she will always be one of my greatest influences and heroes. I knew her less than two years, but I am so thankful I got to know her at all. With her passing, I have lost a hero and a great friend who I loved, but what I gained from her is immeasurable. I can only hope she knew how grateful I was to be her friend. Heather Stevens, I love you and will always miss you. – Brian Conboy