Friends and family are remembering the fighting spirit of 34-year-old Heather Murnighan this week after she lost her battle with a rare, inoperable form of cancer on Tuesday.
Murnighan was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant tumor located in her sinuses towards the end of May. She immediately began chemotherapy and radiation treatment to combat the rapidly growing tumor, and as a result had to take an extended leave of absence from her position as a head server at .
The , holding a fundraiser to help her pay medical bills and volunteering to drive her to doctors appointments.
Murnighan passed peacefully, surrounded by family at the University of Michigan Hospital, according to a good friend, Connie Burke.
"She stayed extremely positive until the end, which shocked us all as she was posting updates about "doing a happy dance" over the results of her cat scan," Burke said. "While the tumor was shrinking, it had already spread to her bone marrow and other areas. I've known (and lost) lots of people in my life to cancer, but I've yet to see the likes of anyone as fiercely positive as Heather. She had even enrolled in school, determined to be the success story."
Burke said Murnighan was much loved in the community and a huge outpooring of mourners had commented on Murnighan's Facebook page.
Murnighan, a single mother, is survived by her 16-year-old son, Evan Murnighan, her mother and father, three brothers, three step-siblings and many nieces and nephews.
"He is my hero and his smile makes my everyday," Murnighan had said about her son in an interview last month with Brighton Patch.
A memorial service will be held for Murnighan on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Marr Community Bible Church, located at 4494 N Burkhart Road in Howell.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include extended family members of Heather Murnighan and report that her Facebook page is still active.