By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
A promising young musician is facing stage four cancer with the support of her community, school and church, but she is not letting the disease silence her talent.
When the congregation at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral hear music, it is probably coming from organist Desiree Hines.
Hines remembers when she first saw and heard a pipe organ on TV and was immediately hooked.
"I was transfixed with her and the sound of the pipe organ. Immediately, I knew there was this divine calling," Hines said.
She grew up in Jackson, MS, and her mother had to work an extra job to pay for her first instrument.
"Access to music for me was through the public schools system. I started by playing the violin through the Saturday String program," she said.
Hines is now the Isabel Curdy endowed organ scholar at Grace and Holy Trinity. She studies at the Conservatory of Music and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, However, just months into her stay in Kansas City, she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroendocrine cancer.
"It was tough. I had just buried my mother in January. I was doing so well at the conservatory and the cathedral. To get knocked down with such an aggressive case was really, really tough," she said.
But the congregation at Grace and Holy Trinity sees every week just how hard Hines is fighting.
Cannon pastor Susan Sommer says Hines' outlook is simple: take it day by day and reach out to the Lord and those around her.
"She is really quite inspiring in that way," Sommer said.
It was also very difficult for her friends.
"It was very difficult. The diagnoses wasn't good, but the response has been exceptional," Sharon Cheers said.
Hines is heading to Louisiana on Monday to a facility that specializes in her rare form of cancer.
"Stage 4 cancer is pretty much incurable, but they can do their very best to help me sustain life," Hines said.
She spent two months this spring in the hospital, many days unable to keep even water down. But she is doing better, and her doctors say neuroendocrine cancer is slow growing.
Hines doesn't know how long she has left, but those close to her can bet she will make the most of it.
"When I'm sick, it affects me. But it is actually given me a better outlook on life, more drive to be a better person, a better musician," she said.
Her family at Grace and Holy Trinity continues to support her. She calls them Team Desiree. They are the reason she keeps fighting.
"Even though I have stage 4 cancer, I have so many good things going on in life that I cannot give up," she said.
Team Desiree has set up an Indie GoGo fundraising account for her, to find out more information, click here.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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