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Keynote Speaker Heidi Marble
Heidi Marble
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Heidi Marble

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Summary of Heidi Marble

It has been 12 since Heidi was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Her original prognosis was 18 months - a death sentence. At 34 years old, mother of a two year old son and wife of a devoted husband, Heidi fought with unflinching determination. The sacrifices were many: loss of both breasts, a full hysterectomy, burns from radiation, hair loss from chemotherapy, coupled with years of hormonal injections/pills. After a few miracles, Heidi crawled back with a heart full of purpose. Her metamorphosis from near death to life is documented in her book, WAITING FOR WINGS, which chronicles Marble’s journey through diagnosis, treatment, survival and healing. It includes poetry she has written as well as personal journal entries, illustrations and photographs. Her second book TAKING FLIGHT explores life after cancer. Additionally, her team has created a unique form of art called the DONATE & CREATE PROJECT. Thousands of pieces of unwanted jewelry, button, buckles, watches and bling have been donated to create life size art pieces. The art is used for auction, display and community projects to raise money for research. Apparel patterned from the art is now available in the form of shirts, men's ties and silk scarves. As Heidi states, "Healing is a gritty, messy and exhausting series of ups and downs, what matters is that we find our own way."

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Twelve years ago at the age of 34, Heidi heard the words “you have cancer.” She was given a 1 in 1,000 chance of survival. It seemed her life would be cut short by the virulent rare cancer raging inside her body. Incredibly, she survived for her son, for her husband and for herself. She has come back with a heart full of purpose and a mission to spread hope.

What she thought would be a written and photographic legacy for her son transformed into a book. The title, Waiting for Wings, exemplifies the metamorphosis Heidi endured. Like the caterpillar, she was bald, confined and struggling to set herself free. Early on, she declared her determination to live by having a friend write the words “I Will Survive” on her back during a photo shoot. This primal determination spills into the pages of her book. It is more than a story about surviving cancer: it is a love story between a man and a woman, a story of the human spirit and a call to rise up from adversity.

Heidi has spoken to thousands of people, blending her sense of humor with her message of beating the odds. She has been featured on CBS's Bay Area Sunday, ABC's Sacramento and Co. and twice on the View from the Bay talk Show. Her story has filled the front pages of the Daily Republic and Reporter newspapers. She has also been featured in Coping and Solano magazines as well as multiple radio shows. She has been an inspirational speaker at over 100 events throughout the country. Heidi currently sits on the Board of Directors for Providence Medical Center and previously served on the NorthBay Healthcare Foundation Board. Her artwork and book have raised thousands of dollars to help people dealing with cancer. Phase one of a feature length documentary has been started under the representation of famous Hollywood literary agent Caren Bohrman. Currently, Heidi is finishing her forthcoming second book, Taking Flight, a guide for coping with cancer.

As Heidi writes, cancer is a thief: it took her breasts, her hair, and her fertility, but it did not take her spirit. She proudly honors her barren chest on the front cover of her book. By owning her scars, she hopes to broaden the spectrum of beauty. In her words, “Being alive is beautiful.”

Heidi's presentations are a unique blend of narrative, poetry and photographs. She uses props and humor to engage her audience. After seeing Heidi speak and reading her book, you will be inspired to see your own struggles as a way of finding your wings. As Heidi says, “Don't leave this life with your potential still inside—unfold your wings and fly.”

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Butterfly Life

Not all creatures that soar with their wings were born with them. The butterfly must undergo a profound transformational process to get wings. After Heidi's diagnosis of breast cancer, she had to go through her own metamorphosis. She shares the importance of embracing change using the butterfly as the model. Her rise and fall into renewal stirs the hearts of her audience to conceptualize their potential. With poetry, narrative and storytelling, you are taken on an unforgettable flight. "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over it became a butterfly." (Proverb)

Skin Tight Genes

Join Heidi and her sister as they share their incredible journey through separation by adoption, being reunited after 30 years, being consecutively diagnosed with breast cancer, and learning they both had the BRCA2 gene. Their presentation will weave a story that Hollywood could never contrive. With props, pictures and unedited bantering (not to mention their matching jeans), the audience won't have a choice but to go along for the ride.

One Piece at a Time
The Art of Taking Broken into Beautiful

Through Heidi's Donate&Create Program, she demonstrates how one woman, one idea can be a catalyst for change. By taking pieces of unused jewelry, bobbles and buttons, Heidi has created a platform for fundraising, awareness and healing. Her art is a metaphor for how to pick up the pieces of our lives and rearrange them. She emphasizes how life is a mosaic of experiences and how our brokenness can be turned into something beautiful.

Patient Power
Be Your Own Advocate, Save Your Own Life

Heidi shares information about how to obtain the most out of your medical care. From knowing what time of day to make your appointment to how to make sure you are being heard. Her advice covers the spectrum of navigating through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. "You don't want to be just another medical file, they need to know who you are!"

Five Steps to Exceptional Survivorship

Survival is one thing and healing is another. To survive something difficult can leave you depleted and confused. Yet no matter what the circumstances, it is possible to create exceptional experiences. You can heal, love and feel deeply by discovering how to maximize the positive. You will learn concrete steps that exceptional survivors take that will inspire you to create your own path to wellness.

Breaking the Ice

Challenges can leave us frozen in fear and uncertainty. Laughter can "break the ice" and allow joy to flow. Viewing life from a humorous standpoint can allow us to draw closer to others and ourselves. Heidi shares hilarious stories, props and suggestions on how to access your inner comedian no matter what the circumstances.

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