Heidi was born in San Clemente 20 years ago to a family that consisted of her father, David, who is a designer, draftsman, and/or a construction project manager for newly built and remodeled homes; her mother, Stacie, who is a determined, hardworking homemaker, animal lover and environmentalist; an older brother, David, who is student and an aspiring film maker; and an older sister, Holly, who is an incredible horsewoman and animal lover. They all now live in Costa Mesa, California. Heidi's family often went to the beach to play in the surf, walk the sands, and smell the ocean. She loved activities such as dancing, and the art of makeup and baking. However, singing was one of the things she enjoyed the most, taking lessons to improve her talent, sharing her beauty through her voice.
"My life growing up, although not completely perfect, was safe and full of love. I am a loving sister, a devoted daughter, a true friend and a great optimist. I love life, animals, makeup, cooking and baking. I dabbled in singing, dance, karate, horseback riding and so on. I have always struggled with regular academic curriculum because of my dyslexia and lack of help from the schools. But, with the help of my family, I managed to "overcome" some of these difficulties and figure out how I learn best.
It did not take long to discover I really like baking, applying make up/make up art, or basically do anything creative. I have spent many summers working fairs, that promoted clean and earth friendly ways of life. We even have our own organic garden at home because of some of the things I learned at these fairs. Some summers I simply went on expeditions like kayaking in the sea caves of the Mendocino coast or exploring the tidepools and light houses off the Sonoma coast or venturing into San Francisco to one of the museums to see exhibitions such as "Chicano," "Chihuly," "Japanesque," or "Impressionist Paris". But, always there was the Gravenstein Fair and camping, a must for every trip up north to visit my Nama and Jane. I love exploring our world and spending time being crazy with my family and best friend. We both love and adore animals and spent half of our youth and attempting to rescue any animal that we viewed needed our help or protection. Our parents did not always agree, but we did our best (sneaky as we were).
What came from these early journeys was my love for the diversity of life, cooking, singing, art, animals, people, and the world. I realized the value of what seemed like tedious work in school and in life when it was applied to fun and practical endeavors like cooking - reading, organization and logic, and math could help with the desired outcome. My greatest love in cooking came when I added my creativity and began decorating cakes. My best friend, Rachele and I spent hours decorating cakes for any special occasion we could find and even for occasions that did not exist, just because we loved doing it. I began accumulating cookbooks and above all a knowledge in culinary arts. As with my education, this too has been cut short. I cannot tolerate the heat, my hands become so blistered at the joints and my endurance has diminished to the point I cannot make or cook a simple meal." -Heidi Theis
Over the years Heidi began to learn how to compensate for the dyslexia and school became less of a struggle. It is still very hard because of the pace you must maintain, but reading became easier, not easy, just easier. Two weeks from high school graduation, her formal education was cut short by her accident. She did graduate, with a high school diploma from her hospital bed. But Heidi has been unable to move forward into the local community college as her brother and sister had done with such success. She planned to attend junior college, complete her general education while she waited for her best friend to graduate before applying to colleges with her. Her friend now leaves this September, to start her college adventure. Heidi will not be going with her.
Of course, Heidi's hope is to be free of the pain of CRPS, so that she can live a normal life. She dreams of being able to touch her artistic self once again, exploring her imagination with her make-up and cakes. She wants to be able to go into a kitchen and create things for others enjoyment and to work with a person's appearance, changing them into a ghoul or a princess through the use of special effects make up. Yes, Heidi hopes to have a life free of pain - one in which, she can follow these dreams.
Most importantly, she has found a greater desire to do something in the medical field that would enable her to help people with debilitating problems like herself. Heidi would like to see the trust we are creating for her turned into a general foundation for those in similar situations. She would like it to become a safe, nurturing harbor of support and aid for those who do not know what to do or have anywhere else to turn. She would like to be able create a support system that would remove the sense of isolation for both the patient and their supportive loved ones. We know what it is like to feel alone and desperate for understanding, answers and assistance and wish to spread our comfort, knowledge and support.
Due to the rarity and lack of recognition for CRPS, money becomes a major issue. The helplessness felt in trying to get the money necessary to obtain the necessary treatments and stop the pain seems as unbearable at times as the pain itself. Heidi wants to change this for others. She wants to remind the medical industry and its doctors of their oath "to do no harm". By ignoring the diagnosis of CRPS that is exactly what has happened, the damage is irreversible and the harm unmistakable. Luckily, there are those few doctors that are willing to treat this horrible, silent disorder. These doctors give back as much as is medically and humanly possible to those who are suffering. The problem is finding them and, then, affording the treatments. Together, she/we can change this. The more that is known about CRPS, the more it will be recognized, and, hopefully, CRPS become a challenge that the medical world will address it in its full complexity and with a sense of humanity.
Let us then approach Godís throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.