Her name is Heather Decker. She is a Survivor. A Thriver. A Believer and a Woman with Gumption.
She was the first smiling face I saw when I entered into the doors of nursing school orientation. Naturally, I went and took the open seat beside her. We instantly clicked, sharing our life stories in a matter of minutes before the nursing instructor could even begin her presentation. Little did I know that this woman would inspire me and many others during the next two years of schooling. She was a single mom of two, working multiple jobs, hustling hard and chasing her dreams of being a nurse.
During those two years of grueling school, tests and clinical rotations. She worked weekends (the weekends she didn’t have her children) and slaved over hot ovens catering multiple events. She pinched every single penny she had to provide for her children. Somehow, this amazing woman managed to graduate second in her class (missing the top spot by 0.1 of a point) in June of 2008. Hired by a local hospital, she pulled shifts in the Emergency Room. A perfect fit for her “get up and go/bring it on” personality. She was trucking along with life, finally making it with a little bit of ease and just a few months post graduation was hit with life changing news. The news that nobody ever wants to hear. The type of news that drops you to your knees and makes you ask the good Lord, Why me?
In August 2008, Heather was diagnosed with Cancer. One month later, she underwent major surgery to rid her body of the cancer that threatened to take her life. And this woman, this strong willed woman, just a week or two post surgery, walked with a walker (with a foley bag attached under clothes) proudly out to the soccer field to watch her young son play ball. Because nothing, not Cancer, not surgery, not anything was going to stop this mama from being their for her babies. The following year, through hard work and perseverance, she was able to buy the home of her dreams and several acres with a horse right in her backyard. Being able to see this amazing woman reach her dreams has been a huge blessing. She has shown her children (and those around her) that no matter what life throws at you, with God, anything is possible.
Heather has been Cancer free for 7 years. She is now a home health nurse and is able to brighten the lives of her patients with weekly visits. She heads up a Christian Singles Group and shares the joy of God with anybody that has ears. Her beautiful soul, spirit, and love for people is contagious. I look up to this amazing woman, am thankful for her friendship and when I count my blessings, she’s in there twice.
She wrote this poem after her session:
“Though the rain touches her, it will not overtake her. For she is sheltered from the storm. She is covered in the prayers of the saints who have gone before her. The word of God is her anchor, holding her steady, captivating her, while the world around her fades away. She sits on a firm foundation, the result of his faithfulness. Her cup runneth over with goodness, mercy and favor. Though she is by herself, she is never alone. For I am his and he is mine.” – Heather Decker
Heather was chosen as the North Carolina Beauty Revived’s “Most Beautiful Woman” for the 50 Most beautiful Women Campaign. Her session was featured on the Beauty Revived website and also in the Beauty Revived Magazine. It was a true honor to be able to share her story with the world.
Clothing: Shay Leslie Boutique
Hair: Alex James at True Images Salon
Makeup: Crystal at Merle Norman of Elizabeth City
Jewelry: Be Fair & Bloom