Marin Mom Fighting Cancer: ‘I Can’t Die Because my Children Need Me’

A Marin woman has set up a fund to help a Marin mother who was diagnosed with cancer days after her husband was laid off from his job.


Liana Day-Williams is determined to win her fight against an aggressive form of Lymphoma. 

When the San Rafael mother of two found out she had a roughly eight-inch tumor in her chest in October 2012, she knew she would “get through this,” she said.

But the cancer fight hasn’t been easy for Day-Williams and her family. Her husband, Novato native Chase Williams, was laid off three days before her diagnosis.

While the project manager in the solar energy industry continues to look for a job, he has spent most of his time caring for Liana and their two children, the 9-year-old Brandon and 7-year-old Sabine, who both attend Glenwood Elementary.

Liana’s going through inpatient chemotherapy treatments now and will need costly bone marrow transplant and stem cell rescue treatment at the Stanford Medial Center this spring. While the couple each had employer health benefits when Liana was first diagnosed, they now have a dramatically decreased income and Chases’ unemployment benefits will run out in May.

Novato resident Mary Stompe, a longtime friend of Chase, set up an online fund to raise money for the Santa Venetia family, who have already spent most of their savings on their rising healthcare costs.

The combination of an especially weak immune system and fatigue from the treatments hasn’t let Liana go on long hikes with her family in Marin, but she said she’s looking forward to being able to be out and about with her family doing their favorite activities once she’s better.

She said when she first heard she had cancer she immediately thought of her children. “I can’t die because my children need me,” Liana said. “I’ve got to be able to get through this. I’m just too young.”

She said the children have been doing “incredibly well” while she has been sick.

“We told them I was sick and the doctors would cure me and I might have days where I seemed really sick, but it was all about my getting better being OK,” she said. “We’ve had a community that has been really supportive.”

Liana moved to Marin in 1994, when she moved to Fairfax with Chase. They bought a home in Santa Venetia in 1999.

For more information about Liana or to donate to the online campaign, click here.

Last year, the Ross Valley community rallied around two boys with another type of blood cancer — Leukemia — including the 14-year-old Fairfax resident Ryder Morford. Also last year, a 7-year-old San Rafael boy was diagnosed with leukemia.

In San Anselmo, the owner of the popular Orchid Thai restaurant died earlier this year of complications from Leukemia.

Are you worried about cancer in Marin? Tell us in the comments!

carla March 18, 2013 at 08:54 PM
I to am a mother of a daughter who rasied my child as a single mother putting her thru private school until high school, when she was a sophmore at University High I notice a lump on my chest and yes breast cancer, I cant die until I get my family back together. My medication is about 300.00 per month I am unable to work and the family court failed me...My journey is all about trying to live when everything around me is killing me, I have never been homeless until I got Cancer, I moved from my home town San Francisco to Marin County in 1992 a year after my daughter's birth. And after living here for 20years now I have to considerd moving to a healthier Town outside of Marin County I'm sure I wont be missed accept for my money..... CW Ross,Ca.
James Shaw March 19, 2013 at 09:18 AM
When I think about cancer, I think about the people in the world who have done the most innovative things to treat it and succeeded at it, then I look at what they're up to nowadays. Follow the doctors who succeed. No need to play guessing games. My top following is the guy who built a cancer treatment and sold it for $6.5 BILLION (Erbitux, one of the top head and neck cancer treatments today). I think he's one of the people everyone should be following when it comes to the ultimate cure for cancer. This article was very informative for me in terms of figuring out where real scientists with hundreds of millions in personal wealth are putting their time, even when they don't need to work: http://www.trefis.com/stock/snti/articles/168060/could-dr-harlan-waksals-final-gift-to-the-world-be-the-cure-for-cancer/2013-02-11 Follow the money, right? Why would someone with almost a billion dollars in personal wealth be working on this new cancer treatment? I bet this Erbitux guys believes he has found it...


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