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Mary Herczog: 'After all, I'm 33, way too young to have breast cancer'

February 18, 2010 |  3:26 pm
Herczog  “When a lump turned up in my armpit, I knew. Or rather, suspected. Because there are things you don’t allow yourself to think....

“After all, I’m 33, way too young to have breast cancer. There is no history in my family, except for my paternal grandfather, who died of it (oh, yes), but he was old (late 80s). Besides I never – and I mean never – drank, smoked, did drugs or drank coffee, tea or soda. I even exercise regularly. And I eat sort of low-fat except when I’m in New Orleans. So how could I have breast cancer?”

Freelance writer Mary Herczog wrote those words in the first of a nine-part series that The Times published monthly, beginning in late 1997.

She dubbed her third round with the disease “Cancer: The Extended Dance Remix” and kept writing about it on her website, It would be her last dance.

Herczog died Tuesday at 45.

Donations in her name may be made to Tipitina’s Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving Louisiana’s musical culture, or, an online charity that funds classroom projects.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Mary Herczog in 1998. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times