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Suzanne’s Story

Suzanne Bianchi, our lovely mom and wife, passed away on November 4, 2013. In July 2014, after 61 wonderful healthy years, she was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer- not the Apple Executives kind but the more common kind- pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (which had spread). We created this Caring Bridge site to keep friends and family updated. We've appreciated your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.

It was with great sadness that my mom and our family learned that she has metastatic pancreatic cancer. On July 8, 2013. her diagnosis was confirmed including that her cancer had already spread- at least to her liver and probably her lungs. But even though we would wish this news very different, we also are reminded of how much we love our mom and wife.

For more information on pancreatic cancer, check out this presentation from the Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology (first 30 minutes are most relevant):

How we found out:

 As surgery was not an option for such cases, she started chemotherapy (abraxane and gemcitabine) on August 14, 2013. 

Our mother had been having stomach pain that started in early May 2013. There are many causes of stomach pain so she did not think much of it. She and my dad had a great trip to England and Italy in May 2013. They spent their anniversary hiking in Cinque Terre and saw our Bianchi relatives in Arezzo. They then came to Princeton for my graduation with a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School.

Upon their return to LA, my parents consulted a doctor since the stomach pain had not subsided. We had thought that maybe she had gallstones, but an ultrasound revealed masses around the pancreas. A biopsy through an endoscopic ultrasound that took a fine needle aspirate unfortunately revealed cancerous cells. 

Pancreatic cancer develops very slowly. It usually takes about 9 years before patients become symptomatic. This is also what makes pancreatic cancer such a bad cancer; they usually do not catch it until it has already spread. It thus did not matter that my mother waited about 6 weeks before seeing someone and instead spent it living well with my dad, eating pasta and gazing at the Mediterranean. The oncologist said her cancer would not have looked different if she had come in right away.

The oncologist said that the goal is that our mom live as long and as well as possible. Here's to that goal!- we said. But then, she only lived for 4 more months. I would say she lived it well, in spite of the toll the disease took on her body which she uncomplainingly endured. She spent four precious months surrounded by her family with many visits from dear friends. We only wish it could have been longer as she did and of course, healthier, but we are grateful we got that time together which not everyone gets. 

We really appreciated everyone’s interest and wanting to stay abreast of her condition. Feel free to email, text, and call us. We might be slower than usual about getting back to you, but it really helps!

Suzanne     bianchi *AT*                             202-271-4524 
Mark             msjjjbrowning *AT*             202-907-9617
Jen               jennie.browning *AT*          202-906-9400
James          jamesbrowning86 *AT*      202-907-9616
Josh             jonbrowning1990 *AT*       202-487-7473

Latest Journal Update

Dedication of the Suzanne M. Bianchi Meeting Room- 27 October 2014

The Suzanne M. Bianchi Meeting room at the Maryland Population Research Center (MPRC) . My mother worked very hard with Seth Sanders and other colleagues to establish MPRC as it is today and served as its founding director. Our family is very proud and honored by the choice to name the conference room after her. 

Please see the invitation at the end (which unfortunately does not appear as nicely on Caring Bridge). If you would like to attend, there is RSVP information.

In another touching tribute, my Aunt Diane has lovingly created a beautiful quilt for each of us three kids using pieces of fabric from my mom's clothes and photos. I am attaching two pictures. I hope she doesn't mind. She of course was not sure if we would like them. But how could we not- such a tribute and such a sign that we, my mom's kids, are still so very loved. My mother would have been extremely touched- and impressed at the finished quilts- she took quilting classes before she had kids and we have an unfinished baby quilt for me up in the attic to show for it!


MPRC Maryland Population Research Center

Director Michael Rendall 

cordially invites you to join us
as we inaugurate our new facilities in 

Morrill Hall

Monday, October 27, 2014
3:30-5:30 p.m.

1101 Morrill

Comments from :

Patrick O'Shea
Vice President of Research

Gregory Ball
Dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Jane Clark
Dean of the School of Public Health

and a special dedication of the
Suzanne M. Bianchi Meeting Room

William Falk
Professor Emeritus

followed by refreshments
and a tour of the facilities

RSVP to Tiffany Pittman or Barbara Hillinger
or call 301-405-6403

2 people hearted this



Ann Browning Zerby
By Ann Browning Zerby
Beautiful quilts! That Diane-wow, great idea! A room at the center Suzanne helped to establish is a fitting tribute.
1 person hearted this
Vilma Ortiz
By Vilma Ortiz
A quilt is a perfect remembrance. Grief is hard work so I hope that you and your brothers and your dad are taking good care of yourselves as you grieve this huge loss.
1 person hearted this
Sofia Vinci
By Roberto Vinci
A wonderful tribute to your Mom, the quilts are beautiful.
Roberto Arezzo
2 people hearted this
Kevin McCarville
By Dr. Kevin McCarville, St. Edmond, Fort Dodge, IA, class of 1970
This is a fitting tribute to a great researcher, devoted mother and dear friend to so many. Of all the alums of the St. Edmond class of 1970, she was always the one of whom we were most proud.
2 people hearted this
Gianni Bianchi
By Gianni
I am Proud of Suzanne
3 people hearted this
Pat Berry
By Pat Berry
Sorry to miss the dedication, Jen. Such a wonderful tribute to your Mom. And, wow, those quilts are so beautiful! So nice of your Aunt to do them for you. Having made a few quilts myself, I know how much time and effort goes into them. A labor of love for Diane, I'm sure. I think of all of you often and keep you in my prayers. Love to you, your Dad and all of your family ~
1 person hearted this