To say that Jeanette Fritzky was a woman of many talents is an understatement. She was a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, business woman, pharmaceutical executive, council woman and volunteer. Jeanette was born in Ohio to the children of Chinese diplomats, as one of five siblings. She worked her way up from being a hospital and retail pharmacist to a pharmaceutical executive focused on the sales and marketing of oncology drugs. After rising in the corporate ranks of major pharmaceutical companies like Roche and Chiron, she formed a successful marketing consulting company; all while raising 4 children. Because she still had more of herself to give, Jeanette decided to run for Moraga Town Council and was elected in 2016. Jeanette served for the past two years on the Town Council as a voice of stability, respect and reason.
In July 2018, after having a persistent cough for two months, Jeanette was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic lung cancer. She and her family would soon come to learn that 20% of new lung cancer diagnoses are Asian women who have never smoked. While waiting for genetic typing, Jeanette underwent palliative radiation to shrink the primary tumor in her left lung and various bone metastases. The results of the genetic typing, which took many weeks, showed that she had a rare genetic mutation occurring in only 6% of lung cancer patients. After beginning an intensive chemotherapy regimen, Jeanette became too weak to continue and was admitted the hospital where she remained until she passed away on September 28, 2018.
Jeanette’s message and gift to you is: First, that family, friends and community should be cherished and never taken for granted because in the end, it always feels like there wasn’t enough time. Second and equally as important, is that if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. Lung cancer is not just a “smokers” disease, it’s a breathing air disease and anyone can get it. Because of that fact, increased education and screening of never-smoker Asian women is paramount.