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Help For Heather

Updated: Friday, April 12 2013, 09:55 PM EDT
"This is one of those times when we're used to helping the community and now we're asking the community to come and help us," said Polk County Sheriff's Detective Randall Hodge.

The daughter of a Polk County deputy is sick and Wednesday the the sheriff and several deputies stood on the lawn in front of the department and launched a fundraising campaign.

"When I heard about what the family was going through, it didn't feel right - you've got to stand up and do something," said Sheriff Donald Hill.

Hill and his deputies will be waiters at a dinner to raise money Monday night at Mountain View BBQ.

"If you want to come out I will serve, and get you your drinks and your tea and all that," said Hill - with a slight smile.

The department is also helping to coordinate a benefit concert in Saluda on May 4 that could sell 1,000 tickets.

"If they haven't purchased tickets already, they're saying they're going to be there," said Concert Producer Brook Hannon of Turner HD Media/5 Oaks Entertainment.

The department has even enlisted local celebrities from the hit show "Moonshiners" on The Discovery Channel.

Heather Cash is who it's all for. She is a 21-year-old USC Upstate student who battled and beat one brain tumor - in a close fight - one year ago. But she has Cushing's Disease, which means the brain makes too many hormones and causes brain tumors - and now she has another.

Three weeks ago Heather and her mother - Investigator Sergeant BJ Bayne - found out that she needs a second surgery, to remove a second tumor.

"I watched my daughter almost die in front of me, when she bled out ten days after surgery ... you hit your knees and tell God please take me not her," said Bayne.

The surgery that is high risk - but the only option she has - is expensive. Bayne said she began doing the math in the car leaving the hospital after the second tumor was diagnosed.

"I started going 'Ok, if I need to I will, because last time I used my 401k and started paying for surgery, and still making payments to the hospital and all this," said Bayne.

The family managed without help last time - but the second time around, again, they need thousands to cover Heather's surgery, medications, treatment, hospital stay and transportation.

"I said 'You know I can sell all my jewelry, we can have a big garage sale - sell all the stuff in the house and all this, and Heather said to me, 'Stop, quit worrying about it - God'll take care of it," remembered Bayne.

Now through the quiet works of this community, it may be taken care of.

"It was a shock for BJ," said coworker Hodge, describing when Bayne found out about the fundraisers. "It was something that was being done behind the scenes by the sheriff and a couple of the administrators."

Bayne never asked for help.

"There were so many people who I thought may need more than Heather does, and I didn't want to take away from them," said Bayne.

But it's hard to believe anyone needs - or deserves - this help more right now, than Heather.

"Heather took me to church and she's like 'Listen, you can't be mad at God,'" said Heather's sister Shelby. "I prayed for rain and he gave us an ocean."

Here is how you can help:

A benefit dinner is planned for next Monday, April 15th at Mountain View Barbeque in Columbus. 

Maggie Rose, a rising Nashville artist, will be playing at a benefit concert May 4th at the Event Center in Saluda. Call (828) 894-3001 for event information.

If you'd just like to donate, click here.

By Ashlea Surles
Follow Ashlea on Twitter @AshleaSurles

Help For Heather

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