The little girl who captured the hearts of many in Bedford County and beyond lost her battle to a rare childhood cancer Friday night. Eleven-year-old Heather Miller, a student at Chestnut Ridge Middle School, died shortly after 10 p.m. Her condition had taken a turn for the worse this week, when the Web site maintained by her family reported that Heather was too weak to make the trip to Pittsburgh for treatment of Ewing's Sarcoma. She had been to Children's Hospital on Jan. 17 but returned home last week. The news of her condition prompted prayer chains at county churches this week, and on Friday, a number of students at Ridge schools were wearing Heather's signature green shirts. Green had become Heather's favorite when her classmates presented her with a frog to symbolize Fully Rely on God. Heather, the daughter of Don "Meach" and Wendy Miller of Osterburg, was diagnosed with the the cancer Oct. 1, 2008. Ewing's Sarcoma attacks the bone and soft tissue. In addition to chemotherapy treatments, Heather required whole blood and platelet transfusions on a regular basis. The treatment also involved removing ribs and scraping tissue from her lung. Almost as soon as Heather's condition was known, organizations in the community began sponsoring blood drives and other benefits for her. In November, Bedford High School launched a "Stampede for Heather" with green shirts and wrist bands worn when they hosted Heather at the football game with Ridge. Football played a large role in Heather's life for the past 15 months. At the Pittsburgh hospital she met Steeler Troy Polamalu, who became a good friend. The always-smiling Heather made friends nationally when she appeared on the "Today Show" last September with some of her favorite Steelers. Earlier, she had participated in a Sports Illustrated for Kids feature at the Steelers' pre-season camp. Other details of her passing Friday were not immediately available, but word of her death spread quickly. In addition to her parents, she is survived by a sister, Hannah. Heather's Web site is
Heather Sue Miller, 11, Osterburg, earned her angel wings Friday at home surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Altoona, daughter of Donald 'Meach' & Wendy Sue (Wissinger) Miller of Osterburg. Surviving are her parents; sister, Hannah Dawn, 12; grandparents: Vernon & Shirley Miller, Osterburg and Don & Monica Wissinger, Richland; great grandparents: Ben Wissinger, Richland and Helen Pallo, Windber; numerous amazing aunts, uncles and special cousins, with whom she loved to play. Heather was a sixth-grade student at Chestnut Ridge Middle School. She was a member of the Mount Union Methodist Church in Lovely. Heather had a love for playing softball, basketball and throwing a football. She enjoyed watching her Steelers, hunting with her dad, four wheeling and loved to show her affection by aggravating her sister, Hannah. Heather loved frogs, the color green and fought her battle from start to finish Fully Relying On God (FROG). Heather's amazing smile and courageous spirit has won the hearts of so many wonderful friends who have supported her since her diagnosis. Friends will be received from 2-8PM, Mon., Feb. 1, at Heartland Hall and 10-11AM funeral service Tues., Feb. 2, at Heartland Hall, with Rev. John Virgin & Rev. Chuck Jack officiating. Interment, Bedford County Memorial Park. Berkebile Funeral Home, Bedford, PA.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Heather or her family. My acquaintance with her story came from camping trips near her hometown. I am amazed how this little child was able to galvanize and unite Bedford County, Pennsylvania and beyond in a common cause and concern. Heather touched more people in her all-too-brief eleven years than some touch in ninety or more. Her legacy will be large and long-lasting, I'm certain. -BJP
Interesting facts:Helen Elizabeth "Tess" Daly (born 27 April 1969) is an English television presenter. She is married to the presenter Vernon Kay.
Daly was born in Derbyshire to Vivian (1932-2003), who died of emphysema, and Sylvia Daly and grew up in Birch Vale near New Mills...