When things seem as bleak as they can possibly be, along comes a ray of sunshine, a rainbow, a promise of the good in the world, to help set things squarely in the light of goodness.
This morning, as I write this to you, my heart is full. When my older sisters were all grown up, along came the little sister that I never had.
Heidi was just a wee bit of a thing when she and her brother moved in to what we always called “the dairy farm house” with their sweet and hard-working mama. As she grew older, Heidi helped me milk cows, name and tame the barn cats, feed the calves, light each day with smiles with a positive force that cannot be described nor denied.
Her mother and her grandmother taught her to dream big, aim high, even when there was very little promise in the reality tank that it could happen. Heidi “made” it happen. As a young lady, she became a congressional page, saved her money to travel the world helping others, earned an impressive education, and has continued to do tremendous things for others in need.
She volunteers her time and expertise in helping veterans transition back to civilian life by translating their hard-won experience in to readable resumes that land good jobs. This is just one example of many good-hearted acts Heidi quietly accomplishes with her giving heart.
For years, Heidi has quietly fought a battle of remitting and relapsing multiple sclerosis. Her desire for grabbing life by the horns, giving it her all, seemed too great to be overpowered. For many years, no one knew of her fight, as she privately persevered.
She lived in exotic places, married a kind and wonderful Englishman, and continued to build her business, which has helped others. Now known as Heidi Marie Stieber, this little sister has told me that in many of her speeches and presentations all over the world, she would ask the group members to guess her very first job.
“This is the job that got me started in life, was the job that built my bank account enough to go on my first missions trip,” she said.
Most would guess the typical first job positions: waitress, house cleaner or babysitter.
“My very first job was milking cows, early in the morning and after school. You milked those cows if it was 100 degrees or 10 below zero, and even if you’d been out til midnight at a school event, or even if it was Christmas morning,” she told those who studied under her direction.
Heidi said that often opened the door to people of all walks of life who could then see her as a hard-working human being with a good heart, a person who wanted others to succeed as she had.
She showed that she was a young woman firmly grounded in the realization that we all start from somewhere, and it is up to us to decide where we are going with that experience. She has helped many take a seed and grow it.
Now it is Heidi who needs the help, and it is hard for her to ask for it. As MS has taken the upper hand far too much of the time, she applied and has been accepted in to an intense medical treatment that will essentially wipe out her immune system and rebuild it from the ground up.
Insurance will not cover this, so it will be not only physically draining, but financially draining, as well. She will be unable to work for a year. In spite of the personal suffering and sacrifice, Heidi has the determination to regain her life by fighting this battle through a grueling medical protocol.
From her first knowledge of it, she worked to be accepted. She wants to get back to working hard, walking tall and straight, accomplishing a full day’s agenda while focusing on helping others.
One story that has stayed with me of Heidi as a young girl speaks volumes. We had a big farm cat named Watson, adored by even non-cat lovers, because he was so smart and filled with personality.
He came up missing, and Heidi was distraught. She searched the farm, calling for him at all hours, determined to find him. Her efforts paid off, and when she found poor Watson, he was pretty beat up. She offered money from her piggy bank to treat his cuts and scrapes, and to pay for a visit to the veterinarian.
“That girl is going to save the world if anyone can,” my dad said. “If sheer determination can do it, she has it all conquered.”
She has conquered enormous battles in the U.S. and abroad, showing others that Americans are good-hearted people willing to share our bounty and our blessings. Now Heidi needs some of this in return.
If you are interested in knowing more or in making a donation toward Heidi’s journey, please consider going to www.gofundme.com/heidis-hope-ms-fight-fund.