Liverpool Frieda Weeks got the best gift of her life in 1984 when she gave birth to her daughter Heather.
“She was born on my birthday, Aug. 17,” Weeks said. “The greatest gift I ever received on my birthday.”
Weeks got to keep that gift for 24 years. On June 10, 2008, Heather was diagnosed with an aggressive form of colon cancer. Though she had surgery to remove a tumor on July 1, cancer cells had already spread to her liver and bone marrow. After extensive chemotherapy, Heather, a 2002 Liverpool High School graduate, passed away on Nov. 14, 2008.
But in her brief life, Heather Weeks did what we all hope to do: she made an impact.
A determined soul
A lifelong dancer, Heather attended the University of Buffalo in the honors program, majoring in dance. She graduated in three years, summa cum laude, and immediately left on an international tour with Sesame Street Live. She then moved to New Jersey to allow frequent auditions for Broadway Shows or Broadway Tours; rooming with a Liverpool High classmate. She worked as a character actor at Mars 2112 on Broadway at 50th.
“She loved traveling and performing,” Frieda Weeks recalled. “She loved life. She was a determined young woman. She loved children and animals and was out-spoken. If she thought you were wrong, she didn't hesitate to tell you. She was fiercely protective of those she loved. Besides dancing, she loved knitting, watching medical shows, and cooking. When she was home from her tours, we cooked together. If we were not together, we often talked on the phone while we cooked.”
In 2008, at 23, Heather began having stomach problems. They became so severe that she had to stop dancing. Initially diagnosed as ulcerative colitis, Heather’s doctor ultimately came to a terrifying diagnosis: cancer.