Established by her family, Anne’s Quest Foundation, a component fund of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, was formed in loving memory of Anne S. Rosenthal, who lost a courageous battle with colon cancer in the fall of 2007. a devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister, teacher, neighbor and trusted friend who lost a courageous battle with colon cancer on October 20, 2007. Anne’s journey began in the spring of 2006 when she was experiencing stomach pains and abdominal discomfort. After many doctors’ appointments and numerous diagnostic tests in August 2006, we were devastated to discover that Anne had stage IV colon cancer. This was, as Anne called it, “the worst nightmare come true.” Surrounded by her loving husband, Roger and three children, Erin, Kelli and Timmy, Anne faced the diagnosis with an incredible faith and sheer determination. She was prepared to fight and left her first oncology appointment uttering the words “Game On!” She took a leave of absence from her job as a math teacher at Shaker High School in Latham, NY where she taught for over 20 years so she could focus on her treatment. Anne visited both Memorial Sloane Kettering in NYC and Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for additional support and started very aggressive chemotherapy. Her doctors called her cancer “treatable, but not curable.”
She handled her first few months of chemotherapy with few side effects and remained positive, CT scan after CT scan. She continued to inspire everyone who knew her as she faced each new challenge with grace and placed her trust in God’s loving care. Determined not to let cancer keep her down, she enjoyed a Caribbean cruise in February 2007, just six months after her diagnosis.
After the cancer remained “stable” for several months, it was determined that Anne should try a new regimen of chemotherapy. It was now March 2007 and the doctors were concerned about her liver function and lesions that appeared on her lung. Again, we remained hopeful and prayed that a new regimen would be the answer.
In May 2007, Anne and her family celebrated the wedding of her daughter, Erin. Anne felt well, looked gorgeous and had a wonderful time! She also participated in The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life™ on June 8, 2007 in the company of family and friends. She walked the survivor’s lap with enthusiasm and encouragement spread for the other survivors.
However, the lesions on her lung increased and it seemed that chemotherapy was no longer effective. Anne had lost a great deal of weight and she began to grow weaker. That’s when we turned to clinical trials. Again, we visited both Memorial Sloane Kettering and Dana Farber in hopes that Anne would qualify for an ongoing trial. Unfortunately, her overall health had deteriorated and she was not strong enough for experimental treatment. Determined to continue fighting, we did not stop there! We began looking for other cancer treatment centers throughout the US and had hopes in a more holistic approach.
On October 5, 2007, Anne’s colleagues at Shaker High School held a healing mass for her at St. Pius Church in Loudonville, NY and gathered family and friends to pray for Anne’s return to health. Shortly thereafter, Anne was taken to St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, NY for dehydration and a blood transfusion. She really seemed to rally and came home feeling better than she had in a few months. Sadly this improvement was only temporary and Anne was readmitted to the hospital weak and short of breath. A few days later, Anne was moved to Hospice where she passed away on October 20, 2007 surrounded by her family. During her final days, Anne showed constant concern for her family and friends and sent us a beautiful rainbow as a sign that she was on her way to Heaven.
Anne had a profound affect on everyone she met and had a special knack for bringing out the best in others. She will always be remembered for her beautiful blue eyes, radiant smile and as a friend called it her “zest for life.” The third oldest in a family of eleven children, Anne was a born leader and not only took care of her mother and father, Mary and Jack Spath, but was a constant support for each of her brothers and sisters. She was a gifted teacher and was respected by both the students and colleagues with whom she worked. Anne was loving, kind and cared deeply for others. She was generous and did whatever she could to offer a helping hand.