Our 2023 Wings of Hope Concert Tributes
This year the Wings of Hope committee unanimously agreed, for the first time, to honor two of the same tributes from the previous year. Heidi Puppo and Chris Stein continue to fight the good fight, and we want to be there with them as they continue to move forward with hope.
Winning Personality and Dad Jokes Connoisseur
Last year, Chris Stein graced the WOH stage to talk about his cancer journey and to entertain us all with his "Dad Jokes!" His family was honored to hear that Wings of Hope was interested in paying tribute to him once again this year. Chris has recently had some significant difficulties in his fight and has been spending valuable time with his wife and 11-year old son. Your donation will help with his medical bills and bring some much needed hope to the family at a difficult time.
Chris Stein has spent his professional career as a pastor, clinical healthcare chaplain/counselor, and a local and national event worship leader. A pastoral transfer brought Chris to the Pottstown area 23 years ago where he found a great place to raise a family and call home.
Chris was first diagnosed with a brain tumor at 27 years old in 2001. It was resected but a stroke during the surgery complicated his recovery and the location of the tumor necessitated the removal of areas of the brain that control and retain music memory and recall. After waking up Chris found out that he had no memory of any music, including the CDs he had recorded. He also had limited fine motor control so his ability to play guitar was greatly impacted and he had to spend some time at an in-patient physical rehab center. An oncology treatment resulted in a bone disease which necessitated the removal of necrotic bone and the replacement of a hip and femur. This all ultimately resulted in his no longer being able to continue to travel for music. But God is good and Chris was able to recover enough ability to serve as a spokesman/event host/performer for the National Brain Tumor Society and played and spoke at events in the Northeast. It was at this time that he met his wife, also a brain tumor survivor.
Fast forward to 2006 the original grade 2 diffuse astrocytoma was back with a new grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma. Treatment for this went much better and he continued in his clinical residency while having surgery and receiving treatments on his residency lunch hour in the hospital.
In the Fall of 2021 Chris was diagnosed with his 4th brain tumor but it did not encapsulate as a normal tumor would. It spread through the right side in the remaining brain tissue then crossed into the brain stem and into the left hemisphere. The cancer was considered inoperable and treatment options were limited. A second round of full brain radiation, though risky, was felt as the best option in addition to chemotherapy and immunotherapies. This did result in radiation damage and radiation induced Parkinsonism. This is an umbrella term for several disease processes and symptoms can be drawn from any of them.
Supercharging Personal Power
Having been a 2022 tribute for Wings of Hope, Heidi shared some of her feelings on how WOH has impacted her this year. "Wings of Hope has truly lived up to its name. Not only have you helped the financial strain caused by my health issues and absence from work, but it has also lifted my spirits and given me a renewed sense of hope and optimism. The support has not only been a tremendous help practically, but it has also served as a source of emotional strength and encouragement." Your donations can help Heidi pay the bills that have piled up as a result of her treatments and hiatus from work as she fights to regain her footing and make a living for herself and her children.
Heidi is an independent, strong-willed single mom (6 children), friend, sister and Entrepreneur! She left a dysfunctional, difficult married life to give herself and kids a better life. Her biggest accomplishment (other than having her 6 children), was starting her own business that grew into a health/wellness Empowerment service for women. Heidi is working on a new project to help empower women with her "Supercharge Your Personal Power" transformation program, designed to provide invaluable support, guidance, and empowerment to women over 40 who may be feeling stagnant in life, health and overall well-being.
Heidi has had more than her share of struggles over the years. After leaving a highly dysfunctional married life in 2015, Heidi was in a serious car accident that left her with major head trauma. Then in 2018, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a double mastectomy and tram flap surgery to her stomach she was informed she would need further medical attention. Heidi used holistic methods to care for her body and mind and had several years of remission. Unfortunately, in June of 2022, after having a bout with severe back pain, she cracked a vertebrae while reaching to place a glass in her kitchen cabinet. This led to back surgery and the discovery that the cancer had spread to her bones. She then underwent radiation therapy to reduce the spread which resulted in severe side-effects. Ever the optimist, Heidi has decided the best path forward for her is to end all medical treatments. "If I'm going to live, no matter how long, I want to live in all true sense of the word. With joy, gratefulness, inspiration, strength and resiliency to continue to do what I was here to do." She currently lives with her 17-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter in Harleysville, PA.
Heidi loves chocolate, traveling, is filled with “nerdy curiosity,” loves gardening, meeting new people and spending time with her children and pets.