Usually prayers can be heard coming from the United Christian Assembly in Jericho. Thursday churchgoers cheered for one of their own. That's because Heather Sheppard of Cambridge got to "come on down" to contestant's row. She was picked to play on "The Price is Right."
"I actually think I blacked out in my head a little bit," Heather laughed.
Every audience member gets interviewed. And if you've got what it takes, you end up on the show. Heather certainly seems like an obvious choice.
"I am thinking, 'How crazy can I be without embarrassing the state of Vermont?'" she said.
The show taped in November and Heather never revealed how she did. Friends and family had to watch to find out.
"I think it's fantastic. She's wonderful," friend Hazel Bourdeau said.
And right out of the gate, Heather got a break: his and her skis up for bids.
"Well, I live in Vermont on a ski mountain. So, I should know this!" she told host Drew Carey.
And she did-- she was off by just $7.
"It was like Christmas morning, every childhood all in one moment. That's what it was like," she said.
But the game "Stack the Deck" was trickier and she didn't end up with a new Toyota.
"I can't even call that a regret. Every moment was so phenomenal," she said. "You are just so happy for whoever did win."
Sure, Heather had a great time, like any of us would, especially getting called up onstage. It was incredibly exciting. But Heather happened to be in Los Angeles for a much more serious reason at the time.
"It's a grim diagnosis," Heather said. "It's a harsh disease."
Heather suffers from neuromyelitis optica, a rare condition similar to multiple sclerosis that targets the spinal column. It's sometimes fatal and causes blindness, paralysis and respiratory problems. Heather is in the early stages of the disease. She and her husband were at a neuromyelitis optica conference in California.
"I thought, man, if we are in LA, what else do we do?" she said.
And that's how the two ended up at "The Price is Right."
"Everything about me was make Vermont proud!" Heather said.
And even though she didn't end up in the showcase showdown, her experience left her feeling rich and blessed.
"I won more than the big winner at the end of 'The Price is Right' that day," she said. "I won for sure."
Heather plans to donate her skis to a raffle to raise money for a charity supporting research about her disease.
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