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Monday, August 15, 2005

Who is Mary Ann Yerzy?

Please sign my Guest Book
Mary Ann Yerzy
Pancreatic Cancer Foundation


Who is Mary Ann Yerzy?
Born in Oklahoma, raised on a farm, moved to Northern California during her early teen years with her three siblings and father – with no mother
Married Robert A. Yerzy from San Francisco
Homemaker, Neighborhood activist, Sunday School Teacher, Church Youth Group Leader, Community Involvement with various youth organizations
Less than 24 years of marriage, her husband, our father, passed away of a sudden heart attack in his early 40’s November 1974
She always wanted to write children’s books and her autobiography. . . One Day!

All three of us born in San Francisco and raised in Palo Alto, California, became one of the now more common dynamics of family living conditions of a single parent home in 1974. My mother became a single parent, which made life extremely challenging for us, especially my mother. Although, we didn’t see the challenges because of the way my mother decided to handle our family situation with such grace and positive outlook, my mother enrolled into school at the University of San Jose State University and earnd her education degree to help support our family as my sister and I entered into the new phase of higher educational system of college. One event led to another and my mother ended up moving to Boise, Idaho to begin a new life as my younger brother enrolled into Boise State University.

Through the course of the following years, my mother couldn’t secure a full time teaching job, for reasons we could only speculate. She ended up moving back home to Northern California near one of her brothers. She eventually bought a home in Oakdale, California. Wherever my mother lived, she was involved with her neighborhood, her community and church. Her underlying and motivating passion was her family – three children and daughter-in-law and two grandsons. No matter where she attended church, she would inevitably be a youth Sunday School Teacher.

Before my mother married, she studied to be a nurse and always practiced healthy life choices along with good healthy food choices. Her only vise was smoking cigarettes.

She never remarried after the passing of my father in 1974. Perhaps having two people she dearly loved passing suddenly was too much to handle. Yes, two loves. Her first love was a man who was a truck driver. They were engaged to be married and days before the wedding, a policeman came to the door to announce that her fiancée had been in a fatal jackknife truck accident. They surmised that he was over tired and fell asleep at the wheel and the truck jackknifed. Then that November 1974, Friday night at 11pm, again a policeman along with our church minister carried the message of my father passing of a sudden heart attack while he was on his spontaneous fishing trip in Northern California. At that time her love and passion was focused in the direction towards her family, neighborhood, church and community.

If you could hear my mother, you would hear her say, “If you want to change something, use the power of the pen”. Not only did she write to officials who could or would make a difference, she loved to write children short stories, or at least that was her plan, when the time was right.

One winter day in February 2002, she was checked out for abdominal pains. Soon after her tests, the doctor shared the news of spots on her liver and mass on her pancreas. With her past medical knowledge, she knew that this was a written death sentence. My brother had hope for recovery as my mother sat down to explain to our family what she had been diagnosed with. She was given less than 30 percent chance of living throughout the next year.

She chose chemo treatment to fight and hope to win the battle of Pancreatic Cancer. Chemo on Monday, sick on Tuesday, fever, chills on Wednesday, an ok day on Thursday, weak with fever on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from lack of good sleep and reaction to treatment, then chemo on Monday again.

This went on until June of 2002. She had made plans earlier before her diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer to visit my sister and me in Georgia. In June, the doctors said she needed a break from chemo and that this would be a good time to make her journey back to Georgia. The flight was extremely hard on her. Within a couple of weeks, she was admitted to the local hospital and eventually had total body blood transfusion. The doctors did all they could for her pain and attempted to slow the process down of the cancer progressing. After a couple of weeks in the hospital, the doctors spoke to us and said there is nothing more they could do. The facts were the facts – she can die here in the hospital or in a place more familiar to her. My sister prearranged hospice care to be at my sister home. This is where we watched my mother each and every hour for the next 3 weeks, die. Each living organ began to shut down or become dysfunctional. We watched our mother, who could walk and be totally independent, to be totally dependent. The saying is true, especially with Pancreatic Cancer, Once a man, twice a child. That is what my mother became. A child and incoherent. The last few days of her life here on earth was that of an infant. Every single need was taken care of by her children and grandsons. We were by her side as she breathed her last three small gasps of breath, on July 13, 2002 at 8:03pm. She the loved outdoors especially the sounds of a thunder storm off in the distance. Minutes before she passed away, we heard the crackling of dry thunder and lightening off in the distance.

My mother was our greatest supporter in ANY project we took on. No matter how small or big, she was there supporting each of us. She encouraged my music writing and was a great supporter of the movie my brother and I are making, Boston Rooftops, A Romantic Movie Short. Unfortunately, she passed away before she could see the fruit of her support. She also never did get to write the children stories she would tell us about.

Not only has my mother not able to see the end results of a project she believed in because of the Pancreatic Cancer, but a musician friend of mine in Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the songs which will be edited into the movie, Point Reyes, was recorded with Rick Weber. We had completed recording Point Reyes one cold snowy February late night in 1997. Rick mentioned that we should do an entire project for two guitars using my original music the following summer. A few weeks later, Rick calls me to let me know he only has 3 months to live. I thought he was joking. I let him know if he didn’t want to do the project, just say so. He explained to me that he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. At that time, I had no idea what kind of cancer that was. I assured him with encouraging words that he would be here to record the following summer. Three weeks later, I was informed that he passed away from Pancreatic Cancer.

I can hear her voice today sharing with me as we use to sit side by side on her couch, “Never give up. Find the good in all that you do, see and experience in life. Never, ever give up.”

Please don’t give up. Please see the good in what we are doing. Please help support us. Please help us find a cure. Please help us find a way to prevent this horrible death sentence of Pancreatic Cancer.
Please help make

The Mary Ann Yerzy Pancreatic Foundation

A reality not just a dream or hope – for all those who continue to suffer and for those who may contract this horrible cancerous death sentence.

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