Mission Statement: Our mission as the Rockland Roses is to honor Rose’s beautiful life and all that she cherished. She was surrounded by a garden of love that was built with the help of her family, friends and community. We intend to serve the women in our community, by creating awareness and a network of support. No family should have to bear the loss of a loved one to cervical cancer alone.
Message from the Chapter Leader
“The rose’s rarest essence lives in the thorns.” – Rumi
This quote rings true to all that our beautiful Rose experienced. July 16th has always been a very emotional day for my family. It was on this day that my three oldest children lost their dad. Twenty-five years later, to the day on July 16, 2019, my daughter Rose was diagnosed with cervical cancer. My name is Anne DiLascio-Marsico and if I’m being honest, I can’t believe I’m writing this introduction to the beautiful life my daughter led. My Rose was planted with love and affection and we all had the privilege of watching her grow and bloom. Rose’s story is filled with courage, tragedy, hope and love. But most of all love.
It’s so hard to find the words to fully express the beautiful, energetic, hilarious, creative and loving person that Rose was. To know Rose meant that you were fully captivated by her remarkable spirit. Rose had an immense love for her family and friends, and above all her daughters Layla and Madison. This is where her incredible fight began and where her courage, strength, and positivity shinned through. Layla and Madison now more then ever became the source of her determination. As a mother her objective was now to show her girls what incredible courage and strength looked like. She was often heard saying, “I have to fight for my girls.”
Rose never missed her annual exam with her OB GYN. Exactly one year before she was diagnosed her previous OB GYN appointment had shown no evidence of disease. This fact is important to remember because the events that followed are even more difficult to comprehend. Life can change so drastically in a moments notice. Rose was scheduled for this annual appointment in July as she was set to have her IUD replaced. Two months prior to this appointment (in May) Rose began to bleed. When she mentioned this to her doctor, his thoughts were that since the IUD was due to be replaced it was not uncommon for it to shift and embed in the muscle. Rose coped with the bleeding until her appointment.
We soon found out this was not the case. When the doctor examined Rose, he saw a large mass covering her cervix. It was then she heard the words she had been fearing her whole life, “Rose, I’m sorry to say that there is a mass here and it appears to be cancerous.” As soon as she heard this phrase Rose’s tremendous journey began.
By August 3rd, 2019 Rose underwent a radical hysterectomy. This was performed by the most amazingly gifted oncologist, Dr. Gizelka David-West. We were blessed to have found Dr. David-West, as she became a pillar of strength for Rose and our entire family. Following the surgery we received the best news possible. Everything went well and the pathology showed that her lymph nodes were cancer free. At this point there was no need for radiation or chemotherapy.
We knew the recovery for this major surgery wouldn’t be easy, but Rose was anxious to heal and put this nightmare behind her. Three months into Rose’s recuperation she began experiencing pain that was different from what she had previously experienced. Being that Dr. David-West is such a proactive Oncologist, she advised Rose to come to the office for another exam. It was at this appointment that two new tumors were found. We now knew that we were dealing with an aggressive recurring cancer and had to act fast.
Radiation and chemotherapy started immediately. As hard as this was on Rose’s body she continued to remain positive and her sense of humor and fabulous dance moves kept us all motivated through this tough journey. When treatment was finished and Rose rang that bell it was time for another PET scan. The results showed that one tumor was completely gone but the other one was not. Not only had the remaining tumor not responded to the treatment, but it had actually grown in size. Our next plan of action was to begin immunotherapy. Rose’s relentless spirit kept us all hopeful that this was going to work.
Unfortunately at the end of treatment our hearts were broken again, the unthinkable happened and the cancer had now spread to her lungs and liver.
I was blessed to watch my delicate Rose bloom for 37 years. On October 24, 2020 I was blessed to be with her as she graduated from this life. Rose was also surrounded by her husband James, her sisters Diana and Veronica, Sister-In-Law Jenna, Brothers Richard and Ronnie, and Stepdad Gary. During this difficult time our community came together to support Rose’s girls and our family. During her beautiful life, Rose built an incredible garden of love made from all the lives she touched. Our dream is to continue cultivating this garden and spread the seeds of love that Rose so beautifully created.