Mary Ann White was born in New Orleans in 1940. She married Frank Fradella in 1960 and over the years they had six children together. They enjoyed many activities together, such as gardening, walking around the French Quarter, going to church, and spoiling their four grandchildren. Mary Ann also enjoyed volunteering in a retirement home, where she gave manicures to elderly women.
Mary was loved by all who met her. She was very giving; there were always “stragglers” at holiday meals – friends of her children who didn’t have a place to go for the holidays. She never turned anyone away, and she made everyone feel like part of the family. Mary also had sharp wit and a keen sense of humor. After her first surgery, during which a rather large tumor was removed, Mary named the tumor “Cornelius,” saying, “After having six children, I never left the hospital without something having a name.” But Mary was also very private. She told few people outside of her immediate family about her cancer. She wanted neither pity nor to worry those who loved her – including her own mother, who went to her grave just six months before Mary did, never knowing that Mary Ann was ever sick.
When Mary Ann was diagnosed with LMS in early 1998, she immediately got to work doing research. She was determined to beat this disease and was often more informed about LMS and its treatments and clinical trials than her doctors. Many times she offered suggestions to her doctors that they had not yet heard of, and she also traveled to other hospitals in other states, exhausting every possibility of ridding her body of this disease. Not once did she complain in nearly nine years, even up to the end. Even towards the end, Mary was thinking of others, donating her unused cancer medications to hospital patients who could not afford their own. Sadly, Mary Ann lost her fight on November 29, 2006. Two of her four daughters were with her, holding her hands as she took her last breath.
Though Mary shirked attention and was very private, her family wanted to honor her memory by setting up a research fund in her name so that even in death, she could continue her fight against LMS. She is survived by her husband, six children, four grandchildren, and one sister, as well as many friends. Her kindness, generosity, humor, grace, and love will be missed by all who were blessed to know her.
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