Northwest NEWS

October 12, 1998

Front Page

Mark Heyting loses battle with cancer

   by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor

   When longtime Valley resident Mark Heyting was diagnosed with a rare form of bone marrow cancer last November, the community rallied around him and his family to help pay for a blood stem cell transplant that was not covered by insurance.
   Mr. Heyting made it through part of the procedure, but it could not be completed because of his deteriorating condition.
   On Oct. 3, after three weeks in intensive care at the University of Washington Medical Center, Mr. Heyting died. He was 51.
   Community residents had raised over $20,000 through a series of raffles, garage sales, a bank account and donation jars to pay for the transplant.
   Mr. Heyting had been in the process of switching insurance companies when he was diagnosed, and the new company told him his illness would not be covered for a year.
   But friends Deanne Haas and Kathy Nelson heard of his plight from his wife, Sue, who works at Stillwater Elementary.
   They got together with others and within a few months had raised enough money to pay for the procedure.
   But in the end, the cancer won.
   "It was very sad," Haas said. "We had wonderful community support. We just wish it had a different outcome. He was a great person and well liked."
   Sue Heyting said her husband had fought the disease right to the end.
   "The doctors were totally amazed," she said. "And it seemed like everybody was battling the disease with us and feeling our pain. So many people helped us get through it. We never felt like we were alone."
   She said the community effort meant a lot to the family.
   "We received cards from schoolchildren and the school district was wonderful too," she said. "The response from everyone was so gratifying."
   She said Mark was a wonderful family man and wanted more than anything else to see his children graduate from college. Daughter Keri graduated last May, but son David will not graduate until next May.
   "His greatest joy was his kids," she said. "I think the most important thought to come from this is that everyone should spend time with their family and keep their lives in order. Keep doing those acts of kindness, because you never know what may be next."