Both parents have cancer, 12-year-old steps up to help

12:18 PM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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"They just mean so much to me and I don't think I could live without them," said 12-year-old Blake Heyman.

Standing next to a table full of marshmallow blasters, window scrapers and headbands, Blake showed off items that will be for sale at a big benefit Sunday at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for his parents.

Jodi and Bill Heyman of Eden Prairie both have cancer and between the two, they've had three kinds.

Jodi had breast cancer five years ago and now acute myeloid leukemia.

"That was a result of my breast cancer chemotherapy. It's just a rare thing that can happen," said Jodi.

Bill has stage-four melanoma. "It's almost too much for words, the whole thing is surreal," he said.

In fact, Jodi found out about her new round of cancer and started treatment just as Bill was going to Washington, D.C. to get treatment in a clinical trial.

"We both started on August 20 and we were both gone from our home," said Jodi. "I was gone for 7 weeks and he was gone for a month."

Family, friends' parents and strangers are helping with meals, getting the kids to activities and helping them with their homework while Jodi and Bill fight for their lives.

Kids at Blake's school also bought nearly 1,000 bracelets. "It says Heyman Cancer Warriors and it's got the three ribbons," said Jodi.

Their support system has also organized Sunday's benefit with a band, food and silent auction.

"It's just unbelievable and I'm just really excited for it," said Cassie, Jodi and Bill's older daughter.

As for their prognoses, Bill's treatment seems to be working.

"The tumors that they're tracking are shrinking and they're almost gone right now," he said.

Jodi has a bone marrow donor and is just waiting for the go-ahead from her doctors. She hopes that bone marrow transplant will take her cancer away.

The couple is simply overwhelmed and grateful so many have stepped up to help.

"I don't know how we would be doing it without the support," said Jodi.

The benefit for the Heymans will be held Sunday, Jan. 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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