My Sister Mary

My sister Mary was a beautiful person in many ways. She had a heart of gold and was always helping someone.

When I was very young I remember she was engaged to be married. Her future husband passed away one month before their wedding. I was too young to realize the impact it had on her. I do know she remained single for many years, in that time. Mary was inflicted with TB. I honestly don't know how she remained so positive.

Mary finally met a great person named Frank, He was crazy about her but that doesn't surprise me. I spent a lot of time with them, Mary and I are two of ten children. Mary being the first born and myself being the last.
There were 22 years difference between us. She was actually like my mother as she always made sure I had what I needed and I will love her forever.

It was the early 1980s when Mary found a lump in her breast. At the time she was not sure what it could be, she was afraid to tell anyone especially Frank. I remember her saying it was starting to bother her a lot, so she confided in her friend Pinkie who was a registered nurse.

I remember Mary saying that Pinkie gave her 24 hrs. to tell Frank or she would. Frank was told but a little too late as Mary needed to have a Mastectomy. The cancer was also in her lymph nodes. At that time there were no chemo treatments being given or radiation.

Through out the time she went through this dreaded disease, Mary never complained. She always had a positive outlook. She would say I need to take care of my children (she had 3 ) and Frank. He was so supportive of her. As if it weren't bad enough that she had cancer, her precious Frank was also struck with it and by the time it was discovered it was too late. Mary as always took care of her partner and never complained. As I said she was a very special person.

Twenty years have passed from when Mary was first diagnosed with cancer. I remember her saying she had a cold but nothing was helping. Once again cancer reared its ugly head. It seemed to be behind her implant, finally settling in her neck. This time she went through radiation but to no avail. She suffered so much but again never complained. She actually was concerned for me as I had been diagnosed with cancer and she blamed herself. I told her this was not her fault and that we had the same genes.

Mary had "In Home Hospice" for one year and after becoming extremely weak, she finally succumbed to the deadly disease. My beautiful sweet sister was finally at peace.

I miss her very much and can only hope to be as strong as she. How can one person endure so much and be as positive and brave as she was? Mary is my hero, My sister and My friend and my admiration for her is never ending.

At the time Mary was first diagnosed there were not treatments available as we have today and there were not support groups as the Mary Stolfa Cancer Foundation. I thank God we have progressed and hopefully one day we will have a cure.

This story is in honor of my brave and courageous sister. "Iíll love you Mary, always and forever."

Story By: A. Ciro

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