"I did them from when she's older or younger – random encouragement, bad day, wedding, driver license, even first breakup," Heather McManamy said

By Tiare Dunlap
Updated July 23, 2015 02:00 PM
Credit: Heather McManamy

Heather McManamy knows she won’t live long enough to help her young daughter navigate life’s biggest challenges – so she’s writing a series of cards for the 4-year-old to read during significant moments in the years to come.

“I did them from when she’s older or younger – random encouragement, bad day, wedding, driver license, even first breakup,” McManamy told ABC News. “Every one of these that I get to hand out in person will be an accomplishment.”

The 35-year-old woman of McFarland, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in April 2013. Despite undergoing major surgery and several rounds of chemotherapy, McManamy’s cancer metastasized in her liver and spread to her bones. In August 2014, the young mother was given a terminal diagnosis.

Having exhausted treatment options, McManamy is hoping to live to see her daughter Brianna start kindergarten in the fall, WMTV reports.

In case she doesn’t make it to that day, she has a card ready.

For months, McManamy has made a habit of collecting greeting cards for every significant moment she can imagine her daughter experiencing. She’s written over 40 cards filled with advice, jokes and hopes for her future.

“They’re like this physical representation of ‘this is all of the stuff I’m going to miss,’ ” she said. “I’m going to miss everything and I never like missing anything. I’m always the last one to leave the party.”

The young mother has also created videos for her daughter to go along with the cards.

“I don’t care what she does in her life,” she added. “I just want her to find her happiness. Life is short. If she’s true to herself, everything will be okay.”

For now, she and her husband are focused on enjoying the precious moments they have left together as a family. Thanks to a successful GoFundMe campaign, the couple was able to take Brianna to Disney World and to see the ocean for the first time.

“We plan to pack a million memories into this summer to take advantage of every second,” McManamy wrote on the page. “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping to make that happen.”