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Cancer survivor sells handmade birdhouses during craft show

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Posted at 5:21 PM, Nov 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-17 18:24:57-05

The Apple Tree Bazaar has returned for its 38th year.

The fundraiser for Meals on Wheels in Waco brings more than 60 crafters and artisans together under one roof.

Heidi Kunkel is a three-time cancer survivor. She shares her talents at this craft fair each year.

She started making birdhouses five years ago after finishing up chemotherapy.

"I was going to fight. I wasn't going to sit around and feel sorry for myself," Kunkel said. "I fought a hard battle, but I beat it! God wants me here for a reason, so I'm here."

She uses pinecones and driftwood from Lake Waco to create her works of art. 

"I'd just look around at the gifts from God that are everywhere on the ground," Kunkel said. "Everyone doesn't look at them. I could see them, I could see things I could do with them. Make something, share my talent and pass it on."

Kunkel and her husband work together on each birdhouse. He cuts the wood and she decorates it, adding unique details like a mosaic roof or deer antlers to each piece. 

"I tell him what I want. He calls himself the surgeon and I'm the plastic surgeon," Kunkel joked.

Kunkel said it takes her around 16 hours to finish each birdhouse. She makes them throughout the spring and summer and only sells them during the Apple Tree Bazaar.

"It makes me feel good that they can appreciate art that's in the natural state," Kunkel said. "They come back year after year and tell me how much they've enjoyed it."

Kunkel said this hobby helped keep her smiling through a dark time in her life.

"I had a purpose and I wasn't going to give in to cancer," Kunkel said. "I fought hard and I kept creating."

Admission to the event was $5 per person. The money raised will go right back to serving the elderly in our community.

To learn more about Meals on Wheels in Waco, click here

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