A Celebration of Life service will be held on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014 at 3 pm at the SeasideCenter for Spiritual Living, 1613 Lake Rd., Encinitas 92024. Guests are invited to wear zebra prints, the symbol for neuroendocrine cancer, or Aloha wear.
Jan Naritomi-Hart passed away on Sunday, August 31, 2014 at AviaraHealthcare Center in Encinitas, California, with her sister by her side. She was 63 years old. She died following a valiant, ten year battle with neuroendocrine cancer.
The daughter of Walter and Rae Naritomi, she was born at the Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles on January 3, 1951. In spite of that beginning, her father always called her “my little devil” because she was always "testing the waters". Jan was raised in Pasadena and lived in Hawaii for nearly 20 years before moving to San Marcos with her husband, John Hart, who pre-deceased her in 2001. But she always loved Hawaii and kept the aloha spirit inside her heart, even after moving back to the mainland.
Following her father's death in1988, Jan moved her mother to San Marcos where she cared for her while working full-time. She used her determination and strength to great advantage during these difficult years.
In 2004, Jan was diagnosed with pancreatic neuroendocrinecancer. She spent the last ten years educating herself about this rare form of cancer, and became an activist and advocate for newly diagnosed patients. She started the first neuroendocrine tumor (NET) support group in San Diego, and led the group until last month. Jan devoted countless hours providing advice to her fellow cancer patients and their families, and was a cheerleader for education and fundraising for this little known and often misdiagnosed cancer. She served on the Board of Directors of the Lois Merrill Foundation, an organization devoted to raising awareness and helping people affected by carcinoid cancer, a rare form of neuroendocrine cancer. She was known for her omnipresent yellow note pad and pen, always feverishly taking notes and collecting materials that might be helpful to others.
Jan also was a loyal supporter of the San Diego Cancer Research Institute, a non-profit organization in Encinitas dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients through integrative approaches to treatment. There, she benefited greatly from its many forms of non-traditional treatment therapies and supportive services.She personally introduced hundreds of frightened cancer patients to the benefits of yoga, meditation, acupuncture, gentle exercise, healing touch, and the support of group therapy with other cancer survivors. In 2011, Jan received the Warner Advocacy Award, a national award given to people who are dedicated leaders in the neuroendocrine cancer community.
She became a source of strength and guidance for cancer patients of all kinds. She affected hundreds of people who credit her help and optimism with changing their lives. She had a larger-than-life personality,a winning smile and a ready laugh. When you were in her presence, there was never a dull moment. She always put others first, sometimes to the detriment ofher own well-being. She was generous by nature; her heart was big and filled with love. She was a kind and loving member of her family and her community. She will be dearly missed by so many whose lives she touched.
Jan is survivedby her only sister, Pati B. Naritomi (husband Stuart Bennett, nephew Taka and niece Emiko) of Vermont; sister-in-law Jeanne Hart Gillette (husband Lon, niece Nancy, and nephew Marshall) of Carlsbad, CA and numerous, beloved cousins.
Gifts can be made in memory of Jan to:
The San DiegoCancer Research Institute, www.sdcri.org (1200 Garden View Road, Suite 200, Encinitas, California 92024;
I believe in love and kindness, family first, deep meaningful friendships, counting one's blessings and giving to others what you yourself need. I strive to see life as a glass half full. I am very grateful for the life I have and all the wonderful people that make this grand adventure so worthwhile.