Movie Question: Was Heather Real?

Brad and Heather visit for final time

Brad and Heather visit for final time, click on the picture to see a better quality photo

Heather was a real person! In the movie, the timeline was a little different. Heather was in my first 2nd grade classroom in 1996 and didn’t get sick until her 5th grade year. She passed away from Cancer in January of her 6th grade year.

To learn more about Heather and the impact she made in my life, check out Chapter 13, “Remembering Heather.” You’ll be able to read about Heather’s “Fifth Grade Walk,” our last visit together, my feelings during the funeral, and how I made sure Heather was never forgotten as we got our school involved with Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

Here you will see a picture of Heather and I during our last visit together before she passed away.

I know that many people were touched by the loss of Heather in the movie. She was a special girl and I’m honored that “Hallmark Hall of Fame” wanted to keep her memory alive in the movie. I know Heather’s family is grateful.

Katherine Shepler did an amazing job in the movie playing the role of Heather. I know we will see Katherine in many more movies in the future. Everyone on set enjoyed being around her. Heather would be proud of her!

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5 Responses to “Movie Question: Was Heather Real?”

  1. Dr. Gene Snelling Says:

    I believe this movie has to get some type of special award. It was first class, and it is definitely in front of the class as far as Hallmark movies go.

    As to Katherine Shepler: What some people do not know and I think it is worth noting…She has never had an acting lesson; this was her first audition for any type of movie, and her first time to be in a movie. She is a terrfic singer and dancer, and I trust someone will be wise enough to recognize her talent and give it the greatest exposure within the kind of roles that will benefit society. I believe the interchange between Brad and Heather, when Brad said I like your hair and she said, ” It’s just the medicine” was absolutely classic. Thank you for the encouragement she received from you as well as Jimmy Wolk during the filming.

  2. Mary Says:

    As someone who has lost people to cancer, I especially liked the parallel between your struggle and Heather’s to be treated like “normal.” It was touching to see how you blessed each other with acceptance.

  3. Lou and Lenny Newman Says:

    Brad, Hallmark did you proud–and brought us to tears. Know Grandma Dorothy is smiling down on you, and we are proud to call you cousin. Give our regards to George and Laura!

    Louise (Shainberg) and Lenny Newman
    Bloomington, Indiana

  4. Debbie Thomas Says:

    Heather was very real, and with the assistance of my friend Brad, she will never be forgotten. I am Heather’s Mother. I am so proud of Brad and extremely grateful for keeping the promise he made in making sure no one would ever forget her. Because of Brad’s huge heart, generosity, and strong will, Heather’s memory will live on forever. In fact, much more than I could ever have imagined. I am blessed to have such an amazing person in my life.

    Katherine Shepler did a great job playing Heather. I had the pleasure of meeting her and her family. She greeted me with a huge smile and a big hug. I am honored that she was chosen for this role and I know Heather would feel the same way.

    Brad, thank you again, for everything. Because of you, I am a stronger person. You have given me the courage to help others through volunteer work. Congratulations on the movie and your amazing successes.

  5. Erin Says:

    I cried in the movie during Heather’s funeral. What an inspirational student/teacher relationship you must have shared. I can only hope that I am that inspiring to my students as well!

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"Brad Cohen is a walking billboard for the idea of living positively. He is like a cold drink on a hot day--refreshing, energizing, and likely to put a smile on your face."
Tim Shriver - Chairman of Special Olympics

"I have observed the magic of Brad Cohen in the classroom. He has turned Tourette Syndrome into an asset, and his life into inspiration."
Senator Johnny Isakson, Georgia

"Brad Cohen's story is a triumph of hope, determination, will and relentless good humor."
Peter J. Hollenbeck, Ph.D., Professor and
Associate Head of Biological Sciences,
Purdue University

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