Victoria LeAnne Heisey

Victoria LeAnne Heisey

August 24, 1990 – November 12, 2008

Victoria Heisey, daughter of Jim and Gloria Heisey and sister of Valerie, has been described as, “Sociable, out-going, spontaneous, mischievous, loving, caring, sensitive.” The list could go on and on, but those who knew Victoria all note that she cared about people and wanted to make a difference in their lives. Even at an early age, her parents note that she couldn’t stand to see anyone teased or made fun of; especially those with special needs. In fact, in elementary school, a student with Down’s Syndrome became the target of teasing. According to Mrs. Heisey, “She clearly let everyone know they were to be nice to him. Victoria told her friends- ‘If you won’t be his friend, I won’t be your friend’. And, in the end, they were very nice to him.”


Victoria was a 2008 Lancaster Mennonite School graduate and attended Lock Haven University as a biology student. She was an avid volleyball player and had a true zest for life. In early November 2008, Victoria returned home from college with what she thought was flu-like symptoms. Her parents were taking her to the doctor when she suddenly complained of a severe headache and noted that she thought she was having an aneurysm. Jim quickly headed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with leukemia and then airlifted to Penn State Hershey Medical Center where her specific diagnosis was determined to be AML -acute myeloid leukemia, a fast-progressing cancer affecting cells that would otherwise develop into normal blood cells.


While the medical teams did everything they could to save her, Victoria died; just 54 hours after being diagnosed. She was 18 years old.


Her sister, Valerie, described Victoria as sociable and loud. She stated that when Victoria was in the room, you knew it! Another friend, Mary Poole noted that Victoria “just loved being around people and would be friends with anyone.” Mary also notes that Victoria loved to make decorative notes of encouragement to friends.


One especially meaningful note was written to a friend who had a blood disorder and had frequent visits to the hospital. The note read, “Let God have all your worries and cares for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you” 1 Peter 5:7. And, as Victoria was fighting for her own life, this friend’s mother laid that very same note on the pillow beside Victoria’s head.


Kenbrook Bible Camp was also blessed to have Victoria attend camp for three years in the early 2000’s. In 2003, she wrote the following poem during TAG time (Time Alone with God) which is part of our spiritual development program in summer camp. Her poem highlights so well how God can, and does, meet us through nature here at camp.


God’s Creation

As I sit here surround,

feeling the wind breeze over me,

it’s – it’s almost as if God himself is embracing me.

I am embraced in His creation,

the sounds of water trickling down the stream,

the green trees which lightly sway in the wonderful breeze,

the grass tickling my toes,

sounds of birds merrily chirping – singing their song,

the frogs croak as the rays of sun hit their backs,

the sun, so – so magnificent, as it’s rays touch my face,

it’s like a kiss from God.

And to think all this is made by God.

My God.

I am speechless!

Victoria at Kenbrook Bible Camp, Summer 2003


Why was such a precious life taken so young? We will never know this side of heaven. But, all who knew Victoria know that she was a gift from God for the days she was on earth and blessed those who entered her life. May we all be encouraged by a life well-lived and the promise of an eternal home in heaven free if illness, strife and pain.


May the faith, love and concern for others that Victoria modeled be an example for all of us. It is an inspiration and encouragement for us here at Kenbrook to continue with the mission and purpose God has called us to as we share God’s love with every camper and guest who comes to camp.