Janice Zimmerman, a leading volunteer at the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Minnesota, died on Jan. 9 at her Minneapolis home of breast cancer.
She was 65.
Zimmerman was the Breast Cancer Foundation's key spokeswoman, speaking before groups up to 50 times a year, and also leading its Shop for the Cure committee.A longtime retailer, she made the shopping-fundraiser a big success, said David Egan, co-executive director of the Minnesota affiliate of the foundation.
While giving speeches, she called on the audience to do self-examinations and get mammograms
It was as if "each of the 500 audience members were having a one-on-one talk with Jan," said Egan. "She was so genuine, she prompted people to act."
Egan said that she was "ferocious" in her 13-year fight with cancer and endured treatments that many reject.
He said chemotherapy sessions often leave patients depleted and ill, but that didn't stop Zimmerman.
"She would take chemo on Tuesday, and be on the job Wednesday," said Egan.
Zimmerman's breast cancer was diagnosed in February 1995. That April, she had a lumpectomy, and in May, a double mastectomy.
"Nine days later she ran in the Race for the Cure with tubes hanging out of her," said her husband, Manly, of Minneapolis.
She befriended many from around the country who had cancer, making herself available to others who needed support, said her husband.
Denise Blumberg-Tendel of Plymouth, a breast cancer survivor and foundation volunteer, said Zimmerman was full of positive energy.
"She inspired others, teaching them how to live their lives, how to treat their fellow human beings," said Blumberg-Tendel.
Zimmerman is the author of a book, "Hands Off My Hope - Life Lessons on my Journey with Breast Cancer."
Zimmerman, who grew up in a retailing family, managed Dayton's or Marshall Fields Home Stores for 14 years until 2004.
The St. Cloud native is a Minneapolis Washburn High School graduate.
After graduating from Washburn, she attended the University of Minnesota and other colleges.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her daughters, Stacey Shuster of Burnsville, and Wendy Jacobson of Minneapolis; mother, Ruth Dechter of Boca Raton, Fla.; sister, Jil Dechter of Benicia, Calif., and two grandchildren.
Services have been held.