Marie “Biz” Speece, Levittown, PA

My lovely angel was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when I was 9 years old, right after her 40th birthday in 2000. My mom was my best friend. I’m the youngest of three daughters and my parents were divorced, so I clung to my mom and became her little shadow. I didn’t really understand her diagnosis and when she lost her hair, she was still absolutely gorgeous to me. I remember being extremely upset because my mom would be sick for my birthday that year. I cried in school and no one knew what to do because none of my classmates even knew what cancer was at the age of 9. But I got over it, and spent my 10th and last birthday with the most amazing friend a little girl could ask for. We didn’t know it, but Christmas of 2000 would be our last Christmas with our mom, and my sisters and I were able to wake up at her house for the first time in years. She made it my most memorable Christmas and gave us all we could’ve ever wanted. I don’t remember January 2001-March 2001 because it all seems to be one big blur. But April came around, and without my knowledge, her health declined more and more. I went to see her on April 4th, not knowing that would be the last time I would see my beloved mommy alive. As I got ready to go see her on the night of the 9th, my grandmother called my dad and said that it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to come that night. The next morning when I woke up, I would find out she was gone.

My mom was a beautiful person with a heart bigger than this world! When my sister’s friend was having trouble at home over Christmas one year, my mom took her in, bought her Christmas presents, and stuck them under the tree with our gifts, even when she really didn’t have the money to do so. She was a tanned beauty who loved the beach and her girls more than anything in this world! She always made sure we had what we wanted, and it’s been one crazy journey without her over the past 11 years. As a young woman, growing up without my mom has been tough, but if it weren’t for her loss, I really wouldn’t be where I am today. Her memory lives on in every aspect of my life, and I love that! Such a beautiful soul should live on in memory and I do my best to carry her everywhere with me! In the Teal Ribbon 5k every May, in a 46 hour dance marathon at my university, and with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life (in both State College and Bensalem, PA), I wear my mom’s memory along with my heart on my sleeve. I know she would love to meet cancer survivors and those battling it now, so I do it for her! I don’t really want to win the prize in this contest, I just wanted to honor my mom! Everyone’s moms are so beautiful and my heart goes out to all families effected by Ovarian Cancer. You are all so strong and so wonderful.