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Dave Heyser ringing a bell while in hospice care

Terminal cancer can’t stop Duluth bell ringer

Added on Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Everyone knew Dave Heyser was a dedicated bell ringer. But not this dedicated.

Heyser is in hospice care at Benedictine Health Center in Duluth. Despite having terminal lung cancer, he refuses to stop bell ringing. Last week he raised almost $200 bell ringing at the hospital while surrounded by a parade of friends, family and kids. He’s scheduled to ring another shift there on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m.

This much is true about Heyser: He knows a thing or two about commitment. He taught the virtue by example his whole life as a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a retired Presbyterian minister.

Heyser has not gone back on his commitment to ring bells this Christmas season, recruiting others to fill the shifts he’s been unable to cover. He learned he had cancer only after he signed up for multiple bell ringing shifts last summer. (Yes, he loves bell ringing so much he signs up during summer.)

“I’ve been bell ringing for 12 years – it’s important and I’m glad to do it,” Heyser said.

He first started ringing not long after he and his wife, Marcia, retired. They’ve spent their golden years attending Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Duluth and serving others through various organizations, including The Salvation Army.

This will likely be the last year Heyser bell rings for The Salvation Army. He intends to finish well.

“Dave has been such a dedicated volunteer year after year,” said Jill Buchholz, kettle coordinator for the Duluth Salvation Army. “We are truly humbled and grateful that bell ringing continues to be a priority for him. Even with his own serious health problems, he continues to think of others.”