In 2019, Julie Weiss, Hirshberg Foundation Ambassador and ‘Marathon Goddess’, began running 52 Races for 52 Faces in a year-long challenge to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. Every race included a special dedication. Survivors and loved ones shared stories of hope, love, loss and resilience. Together, they showed the journey of patients and the people who love them. This is one of the heartfelt Never Give Up stories shared.
Santa Monica Classic 2019
By: Marianne Ricci
My mother, Anna Ricci, was a giver. She truly loved God, her family and her friends. She had a great sense of humor and could laugh at herself and make others laugh. She always knew how to make people feel special and cared for. She made us all feel loved. She loved Christmas and decorating; she gave great presents and always made us feel special on our birthdays too. She enjoyed the beach and was a kid at heart when she was at the boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey. It was one of her favorite places.
When I got pregnant with my daughter, she was later born premature and with a birth defect. Being a single mom, my parents were always there for us. My mom drove me to the hospital every day to visit my daughter until she was discharged and sent home with me. My parents took us in so my mom could help me care for Beka every day. She drove me around because she insisted I not drive so I could heal properly. When we finally returned home, my mom helped us with groceries every week and did so many things to help us. Rather than judge me for being a single mother, she loved us, helped out and spoiled my daughter. That meant the world to me. I hope that I’m just like her and that I’ve made her proud of me.
My mom was always taking care of everyone around her. She was very active in her churches and involved in ministry. She and my dad held Bible studies at their home every Friday night. They had some real characters that came each Friday. We jokingly called them the misfits because some people may have thought them unlovable but my mom love unconditionally and they seemed to gravitate to her. She was a great listener and always had a pot of coffee and treats to offer. Both of my parents always prayed for others. They had a prayer jar that they asked people to put in their prayer requests each week, or if my parents knew someone was sick or going through a tough time, she would add them into the prayer jar. She was a woman of faith.
My mom was diagnosed in July of 2004 with pancreatic and lung cancer. When she was sick and her body was failing her, and she couldn’t walk without assistance, she would lay in her bed and pray for others. She took that prayer jar and just went through it and kept praying for all those people and their needs. That really affected me. I was the one who was blessed to take care of her in her last days, so I saw her character come out. She could have been complaining, she could have been angry at God but she laid on her bed and prayed for the needs of others. I don’t know how many people would do that but my mom did. I’ll never forget that about her.
Stories from families & friends touched by pancreatic cancer often show the resilience and courage of the human spirit. Loved ones dedicate their time and effort every day to fight for a cancer-free future and every journey helps pave the way to a cure. Share your story, make a dedication and help raise awareness today.