OCRF & Ovarian Cancer National Alliance are now one strong, united, inspiring voice!
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) have led the way in advocacy, research and support for patients and their families for over 22 years. As of January 2016, we are pleased to announce we are joining together to form Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA), the largest global organization dedicated to advancing ovarian cancer research while supporting women and their families. Read the exciting news!


Survivor Stories / Tributes

Marie Acanfora

Personal Description:


I dedicate this to my wonderful, loving and courageous wife, Marie, who, at 56, lost her battle with this dreaded disease after 13 months. I will never forget how strong and brave she was even when she knew she couldn’t fight anymore. I lost my best friend, my wife and lover. I love you and miss you terribly. My life has been changed forever but I know our Angel is watching over us. An inspiration to us all, we will miss her everyday of our lives. The fond memories and fun we had will keep her alive in our hearts forever.

Personal Description:

Marie was a dedicated wife and mother to our four sons, Matthew, Michael, Gregory and Christopher and our 3 daughters-in-law, Rebecca, Cara and Kathryn. She dedicated herself to her home and family, as well as her students. She taught for the past 21 years, 20 of which were as a Kindergarten teacher. St. Roch School in Staten Island will miss her kind, caring and trusting manner. She always put herself second, and would help anyone who needed her. She would spend days preparing for holidays, cooking and baking for everyone who would be stopping by. Her diagnosis in August 2008 never stopped her. She courageously underwent 3 surgeries and months of chemotherapy, and never complained once. She was a 5’2″ dynamo of a woman and my life partner. Her warmth, her smile and the love she had for life will keep her forever in our hearts. God has the best he could find.

Last updated on: 11/24/2009


Marie & I met as Lehman college students and shared many happy & fun experiences over the last 37 years. Our joint “methods of educ” project, review for the licensing exam & graduation continued on into marriage & parenthood when she shared everything with me from formula, stretchies, walkers & most importantly, advice. After all, she had twins! Marie & I planned party menus for baby christenings & graduations – I could always count on her for a new delicious recipe or hint on how to cook & serve 50+ people with ease. When I needed inspiration or motivation to accomplish something, I just called Marie. I lost a most unselfish, kind, loving & humble friend but will always treasure the fond memories I have of her!

louise wrigley – 11/14/2009

Marie and I have been best friends since childhood; after all, our mothers were also best friends. It is difficult to imagine a world without her but her legacy will live on in her four sons and loving husband. Marie touched everyone she met and used all of her God-given gifts to full advantage. She will be sorely missed as a trusted friend and confidant but cherished memories will forever be remembered. Rest in peace my dear, dear friend.

Ellyn Szpendyk – 11/19/2009

Marie’s courage and strength has encouraged us to face all challenges. Her love for her sons and my cousin, Matt was one of beauty. Her love for God was shown by her countless unselfish support for all others. She will be missed. All her happy memories will continue to live on in our hearts and mind. I know she is in heaven with my sister, Clare, looking out for all of us, protecting, caring and keeping all of us at of harms way. God now has two beautiful angels to assist Him. Until the day when we will all be together again, we will miss you, Marie.

Maria Lein – 11/30/2009

I never met Marie in person; but hearing Matt speak so lovingly of her gave me a mental picture of a woman who drew love to her and then was kind enough to share that love with everyone in her universe. She was a warrior who fought the good fight always. May God Bless Marie and her entire family.

Kathy Sanseverino – 12/02/2009

I met Marie 18 years ago, when my daughters started attending St. Roch School. Over the years, I was blessed to not only have Marie teach my girls, but also to get to personally know Marie as a mother, wife, parishioner, dear friend, and a phenomenal woman. Strong, loving, hard-working, loyal, trusting, brave,and unselfish, are just a few words to describe this remarkable lady. How many people actually get to make such an impact on the lives of so many others? Marie created such a wonderful ripple effect in the sea we call life. I am a better person for having known her. I know she is truly feasting at the Lord’s table. May God bless her and keep her family forever in His loving embrace.

Theresa Panarella – 12/03/2009

Throughout my 23 years of life I have had the pleasure of having a hero, a best friend and most importantly a mother. She taught me the rights and wrongs of life. She taught me how to treat people and to give back to the school, parish and community. Not a minute goes by throughout the day without me thinking of her and how beautiful and how strong a woman she was. It has been the toughest time in my life to know that she is not going to be here physically but through faith in God I know that she will be watching me Dad, Mike, Greg and Matt through our toughest times. Christmas is approaching and we all know how much she loved this hoiday. I just hope that my family and I will remember the good times that we had with her especially the 4 boys picture on our steps coming down to open our presents. She did that up until last year. I know this is going to be the worst yer of my life but as I said earlier faith will get us through. I want to thank the hundreds of people that have supported us through this tough time. The wake and funeral can speak for itself. So much support and love. My family appreciates it and so do I. Mom I love you so much, we all miss you

Christopher Acanfora – 12/14/2009

Not only was Marie a mother, a teacher, or a wife but she was my aunt. She suffered terribly for months and I thought to myself “how could this happen to such an innocent person who wanted nothing but the best for herself and others.” She battled cancer for 13 months but never gave up on her faith.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. She was always helping others and encouraging someone to be the best they can and work for whatever they wanted. My aunt Marie has influenced me in so many ways, more than anyone could ever imagine. She was one of the strongest women I have ever known and I loved and adored her with all my heart. My family has been through a lot over the past year and a half but it has brought us closer together because we know we must treasure the moments that we have had together. I could NEVER forget the memories I have had with her and I know she is watching over me. I love and miss you Aunt Marie! <3

Jeanine Terrusa – 12/16/2009

Living in Pa, was not easy to visit as often as we all would have liked too. I cherish the memories that we do have. Marie was a wonderful person and an inspiration to all. Marie you will be in our hearts forever.

Staci Blass (Winget) – 01/01/2010

I had the distinct honor of being the best man when Matt and Marie exchanged vows and became one. I struggle to accept that this earthly bond is broken. Whenever I visited, Marie always greeted me with a blanket of warmth and followed were the words, if you hungry help yourself, there’s plenty in the refrigerator and you know where everything is. Not all angels have wings, they are rare and precious and Matt and Marie are proof they exist. Nothing will ever fill the empty space left in my heart for Marie was someone who filled so much of it. Marie gave the world four very special gifts and I am forever grateful that, I will see Marie, through them. I cherish the scarf she made for me last Christmas. I wore it many times around my neck, now I will wear it around my heart.

Art Toscano – 01/13/2010

To my best friend and mentor. I am sure you know how lost I am without you. You are always in my thoughts. A day does not go by without me missing you.

Barbara Meyer – 03/24/2010

I thought the passing of time would lessen the pain and lonliness. I never thought your loss could be so hard to endure. After 5 months, I still miss your smile, our talks and the times we spent together more than ever. I think of you constantly and find myself staring at your picture. I am comforted in knowing that you are watching over us all. I pray for you everyday and know that one day I will be happy together with you once more. I look forward to the birth of our first grandchild. I know this baby is a gift from God that you have already seen. Our family needs some good news for a change, and this baby is certainly a blessing from heaven. I love you and miss you.

Matt Acanfora – 03/24/2010

Marie, you are an everpresent light in our lives. You inspired us with your humble and gentle spirit and we cherish the memories of all the family gatherings you generously and wonderfully hosted. We know you are now enjoying the peace and love of God whom you so faithfully served on earth. Your mission here is complete and your good example of service and commitment will live on forever. Rest peacefully, sweet angel.
Cousins Evelyn, Gerard, Sara and Lauren

Evelyn and Gerard Lacagnino – 04/20/2010

Mom, it is so hard for me to get through the day without seeing you. I would come home from work everyday and smile when I would see you. Since September I have walked through the door reminiscing about how you used to greet me and miss it. Some days are good others are so depressing. You were the glue that kept me together. There are ways that I try to get through each day. Matt started an awareness group for Ovarian Cancer in which it evolves around running so tommorrow Matt and I are running in a race to raise money for Ovarian Cancer research. I know you are looking down on us I just want you to know that we all love you and miss you.

Christopher Acanfora – 05/07/2010

It’s been 8 months since my aunt Marie has passed away and everyday I think of her because simply i adored her. I am always reminded of her in any situation because of how close i was to her. She was the best aunt! She meant so much to myself and others and as I am sure everyone knows that she has been honored in great ways and deserves every second of it. I love you aunt Marie, the greatest godmother <3

Jeanine Terrusa – 05/30/2010

– 06/26/2010

Hey ma, I was thinking of you today. I have been thinking about what you would do in my situation at work ,etc.. I try hard to copy you, how you interact with other people when you had hard days at work. And for some reason I can’t do it. I am running two marathons and have raised a lot of money for research for blood cancers. The only thing that is keeping me sane is running and fundraising. It’s not terrible but I just wish I knew what you would do in my situation. Mom I love you!

Chris Acanfora – 08/11/2010

I missed you all day today. Happy Anniversary just the same. Hope you liked the yellow roses.
Your forever love.

Matt Acanfora – 08/13/2010

Not a day goes by when I don’t think about you, about Matt, and the times we’ve had. I pray everyday for Matt and the boys-it’s never easy but the incredibly strong foundation that you’ve built for them will help them find the way to get through each day. I love you and miss you dearly.

Liz Driscoll – 08/16/2010

I can’t believe that a year has passed. It seems like forever and I can’t imagine what the rest of my life will be like. Days go by and things get done as they must, but the fun and excitement is not like it was. You made me laugh, you gave me comfort and support, and you took care of me in such a warm and gentle way. I miss you so much. A day does not pass without me thinking of you, and wihing that I could hold you close just one last time. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.

Matt Acanfora – 09/26/2010

The days have past by so quickly but this past week I struggled even more so than ever! Its been a year and I am trying to look at the brighter side of things! I think of all the great times we have had together and how I would do anything to get those moments back! But I know that my aunt is looking over me and will guide me to do the best I can and I know that she has always had faith in me and still does.she was the best aunt and godmother I could ever ask for! My perfect angel! RIP aunt marie! I love and miss you more than words could explain!

Jeanine Terrusa – 09/28/2010

Carol Terrusa – 09/29/2010

I can’t believe a year has passed without you, I miss you so much and not a day goes by without thinking of you. All the family gatherings that we had this past year is just not the same. You have always treated all of us with so much love and generiosity. You with always be in my heart always and forever. I love you. God Bless

Carol Terrusa – 09/29/2010

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SnatoAttalk SnatoAttalk – 12/02/2010

Rest peacefully Aunt Marie, always thinking of you!! I love you!

Jeanine Terrusa – 12/19/2010

Marie–always thinking about you and the times we shared, especially around the holiday season. You are forever in my heart–

Liz Driscoll – 12/21/2010

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duetafedhearm duetafedhearm – 12/28/2010

Marie, I thouught this year would be easier, but no matter what I do, or where I go, I miss not having you with me. We had a great Christmas, and our family made it wonderful as usual. Sister Mary Pat told me she had a dream about you, and that you told her not to worry because you were here. I truly believe that you are, making us happy and safe. You are missed terribly by so many, and I can only pray that when I think of you, I can be happy once again. Thomas Matthew is a precious gift to our family this year. I know you would have loved to be with him. All my love.

Matt Acanfora – 12/29/2010

just thinking of my beautiful aunt marie <3 love and miss you!!

jeanine terrusa – 04/12/2011

I too am thinking of you today, as everyday. Some days are still so hard to get through without you. I wish you were here to share in all the things that are happening. I miss your guidance and advice. I pray for you everyday and know you are watching and protecting us all.

Matt Acanfora – 06/16/2011

We have about two weeks away from the Teal Walk in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. We are all going to Walk until this silent killer has a cure. I know you are watching over us and I know that you will be side by side with me and the family as we walk in your memory. Love You

Chris Acanfora – 08/28/2011

We finished our walk in your memory. Your loving family and friends, 30 in number, walked to help other women avoid the tough battle you had with Ovarian Cancer. You still are and will always be my hero. I think of you every day, and pray that I can face life with the courage, faith, strength and hope as you did. As Chris said, we know you are watching over us and are always in our hearts. I can’t believe it will be 2 years since God brought you home. The time passes, but the lonliness and sadness doesn’t. Thank God for my wonderful family and friends that make each day worth living. My forever love, I will never stop loving you.

Matt Acanfora – 09/10/2011

I can’t believe 2 years passed. We miss you very much and we will always, you are forever in our hearts, there is not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. We love you!!!!!!

CAROL TERRUSA – 09/29/2011

Just thinking of you on this day. Thanks for being the best godmother one could ask for, you truly were the best! I love you and miss you aunt Marie.

Jeanine Terrusa – 09/29/2011

Ditto for me too. You truly were the best. So many calls today from everyone thinking of you on your second anniversary in heaven. Forever missing you.

Matt Acanfora – 09/29/2011

I’ve been thinking of you all the time these past few weeks. I wish you were here so much. I wish the pain of missing you would go away. I pray you look over us all and protect us. I sometimes wish I were finally with you again. Merry Christmas sweetheart. I will never stop loving you.

Matt Acanfora – 12/13/2011

Leo’s Mummy?Are you ??????????? Are you a boy/girl? ??????????????????????Yes, I am. ??No, I am not. ????????????Are you???????????? Is your T-shirt yellow?????? ???????? your, ?????your T-shirt?????T-shirt?it???????????????:Yes, it is?No,it isn’t.?????????my, your, her, his, its,their,our,???????????my shoes, ??????????your shoes??????talk??shoes????????????????????????????????????????????????

hussam hussam – 03/29/2012

Emily – I finally got anorud to checking your post about us out! This is awesome! The pictures look so natural which is what defines you! Thank you over and over again!

Edo Edo – 03/31/2012

Miss you a lot mom. I will make you proud. Have a big test tommorrow I know you will be looking out for me. Love you

Chris Acanfora – 04/22/2012

I miss you too. Mother’s Day was hard for me. Father spoke about a mother’s journey in life and I just kept thinking of how you raised our boys. The story could have been written for you. Happy Mother’s Day. I know you are with us all. I miss you everyday. Love you.

Matt Acanfora – 05/14/2012

I come to this tribute because I feel like you are here. I don’t look forward to Father’s Day and my birthday like I used to. The boys and their wives are wonderful, but you always made these days so special for me. Grandchild #3 is coming as you well know. I wish you were here to enjoy these babies with me. I think of you everyday and wish you were here. All my love. Matt

Matt Acanfora – 06/11/2012

Happy Anniversary Marie- I will never forget you!

Liz Driscoll – 08/13/2012

You’re a real deep thinker. Thanks for shriang.

Jazlyn Jazlyn – 09/03/2012

Still have the fondest memories of our college years & fun vists with our growing famiies. 3 yrs gone and so terribly missed by so many.

louise wrigley – 09/30/2012