Help increase screening and prevention for colon & rectal cancer.


Faces of Blue: Heather Cyr

By March 1, 2016Faces of Blue

My husband Alec has now been our “guardian angel” for 4 years. My son and I always know when he is with us, as we look for signs each and every day. He loved nature, hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, and any kind of fishing, especially fishing for stripers on his boat off the coast of Maine.

Our son, Chase, who is now 4 and a half, is so much like his Dad. He is always up for an adventure. He loves running through the woods or spending hours down at the beach exploring. He has been hiking mountains since he was 2! Fishing and frog catching are two of his favorite things, his Daddy would be (is) so proud!


Not a moment goes by that we don’t think about Alec and wish he was here. He was an incredible man, a fighter, a believer, a devoted husband, a loving father. He fought so hard to be here. He gave it his all, and he never once complained or asked “why me?”  He will always be my hero, he never let colon cancer win, we lived those two years after diagnosis with more passion, love and faith, and with no regrets. He won. We won. Cancer will always lose, no matter what the outcome.

When he was first diagnosed we immediately went into fight mode. We found the best team of doctors in Boston, we found a wonderful church, near home and surrounded our selves with a support team of family and friends. We stepped onto that cancer roller coaster, the one where you are up as high as the sky one day and the next almost at rock bottom. Where Hope and Fear collide and sometimes all you can do is simply close your eyes, hold on tight and chose Hope.

Alec lived his 2 years of life with cancer so fully. He lived with passion and hope, he never stopped believing. He loved so deeply and he faced every challenge with courage and grace.  And most importantly, he never took a day…a moment…a breath for granted. Every day was filled with adventure, beauty and love.  We would get outside, no matter the weather, the season, the latest diagnosis, we had to be out there. Cross country skiing through the woods, watching a sunset on the boat, or simply walking hand in hand on the beach, breathing in the salt air. It was how we coped, how we healed…how we found peace.


And now, 4 years later, my son and I make it a priority to do the same. Every day we go on an “adventure” and we always look for signs that Daddy is with us. Sometimes he is in a beautiful sunrise, sometimes he is a deer we may spot in the woods, or a bald eagle soaring above. But most times we feel him in our hearts, right along with us in all that we do.

Get Your Rear in Gear means so much to us. Our first race was only 3 weeks after Alec died, and the family and friends that came out to support us was incredible (we had over 100 team members!). The directors of the Get Your Rear in Gear® – Boston are so amazing and I am so thankful for their work and for the event. I have met so many people who have lost loved ones to this horrible disease, a disease that is not well known or not talked about enough. I am grateful that the awareness that GYRIG brings. Because of it, I have heard story after story where young people who sometimes have stomach issues, and would otherwise not think of getting a colonoscopy are demanding one from their doctors. Knowing the signs and symptoms of colon cancer, and being aware of the changes your body is going through, this is what we need to educate people about, and GYRIG does such a great job in doing so.

My life has been forever changed by colon cancer…I was 31 years old with a 5 month old baby when my beloved husband died. Even when I write this now, 4 years later, I still find it hard to believe.


I am sitting here early on a Saturday morning, drinking my coffee. Chase, our son who is now 4 and a half just crawled into my bed. What hurts the most is when I imagine. I imagine what it would be like if Alec were here, if he was able to enjoy these Saturday mornings with us. If he could be here to teach his son how to fish, how to ride his bike, how to read his favorite books. This is why I hate colon cancer so much, because it took that from me, from our son, from Alec.

But we don’t imagine what life could be like much.

We live it. We live it for him.

We embrace each and every day. We go on adventures, we look for signs from above. We talk about his Dad, about the love he has for us. About how he is always with us, in our hearts, in that beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic we got up early some mornings to see, he is in, “Silent Night”, a song I have whispered to Chase every single night before he drifts off to sleep. He is in the love we feel from our friends and family…he is always, always with us.

DSC_2419 - Version 2I feel so blessed to have known my husband for 5 years, to have been his wife for three, to have had a beautiful son with him. I feel blessed to have fought that cancer battle with him, and to have won. We won. He may have died but we won. We never let cancer define us, stop us from living, we never let fear in, We never lost hope or stopped believing. With Love…Cancer will always lose.

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Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Rev. Jan. Hryniewicz says:

    I had the privilege and heartbreak of sharing this journey of love and hope with Heather and Akec…to be continually inspired by their deep faith and positive attitude…their devotion to each other and their previous miracle baby and their passion to live and love and be in the moment. Thank you to GYRIG for raising funds and awareness for this deadly disease . Thank you Heather for your inspiring words, so besutiful and heartfelt. Much love to you and Alec and Chase. May you continue to be blessed by Alec’s amazing spirit of love and life!

  • Amy Fochler says:

    This resonates with me more than you know. My husband passed in 2013 after 3 1/2 years of “beating” cancer. He beat it because he never gave up and lived life, just as your husband did. I was 42 when he died, with three daughters. We live just as you and your son-by living life. Prayers and love to you.

  • Marti Odle says:

    Dearest Heather,
    You continue to glow with the love you share with Alec and Chase. Your example of keeping that love alive with Chase day by day is an inspiration to us all!
    Bless you for being such a faith-filled wife and Mother.

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