Heidi Anderson was born September 27, 1966, in Barrhead, Alberta and passed away November 6, 2021 at the Life Care Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Heidi was born with Down’s Syndrome which became a center piece of our family dynamic.
Heidi was born at a time when developmentally disabled people had access to few resources aside from their family. However, it was also the time when advocacy was starting to bloom, and Heidi was in the vanguard of those who needed outside assistance to take their rightful place in our society. She was integrated into the public schools which, at the time, didn’t traditionally serve children with special needs. She, along with all the others who bravely entered these schools, faced their fair share of pressures from students and staff who didn’t know what to do with them. Their presence showed schools the way to welcome and celebrate all students, regardless of disability or uniqueness. Ultimately, Heidi and others like her became the teachers, and their efforts and trials taught us all to be more accepting.
Heidi loved lots of things like eating, I Love Lucy, KISS, Michael Jackson, Selena, stuffed animals, pets, reading about tornadoes, going to scary movies like Alien, coloring, playing Keno, drinking beer, going shopping at Costco (especially the food samples), riding in a car, and talking to her friend (who sat on her shoulder and could only be seen and heard by Heidi). She smiled a lot, was usually polite, enjoyed school most of the time, and loved her family. She was shy, but once she got to know you, she was glad to see you. She taught us how to be with her and help her deal with her frustrations and her fears. Mostly she taught us about empathy, compassion, sacrifice and fairness.
Heidi is survived by her mother, Barb Byars; her dad, Dale Anderson (Kaye); her sister and brother-in-law, Korin and Derek Schmidt; and her nephews, Tyler and Camden. She was preceded in death by her nephew, Cody.
Her family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at Life Care of Cheyenne who provided her with a lot of love. May the memories of Heidi be a blessing. To us, dear Heidi, to us.