The Lilies and Gardenias Story


Maria Arenado, 73
Norca Placeres, 1937-1993

Mercedes Arenado-Melian decided to use her 40th birthday party to raise funds in honor of her mom, Marta Arenado, a breast cancer survivor, and in memory of Norca Placeres, who died of ovarian cancer and was the mother of her best friend, Maria O’Reilly. When Maria said she wanted to start planning Mercedes’ party, Mercedes responded, “I want to have a party with all my family and friends together, but I don’t want presents. God has given me so much that now I want to give back.”

At Mercedes’ party, she was completely inspired and uplifted. She fell in love with the cause and what they were all doing. With the support of her friends and family members, Mercedes directed the funds they raised to the Lynne Cohen Preventive Care Clinic for Women’s Cancers at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is looking forward to planning more fundraisers and to continuing to give back.

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