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Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s Great-Granddaughter Dies of Breast Cancer at Age 31

Desiree Anzalone/Instagram; Mondadori/Getty

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr.’s only great-granddaughter has died following a battle with stage 4 breast cancer. She was 31.

Desiree S. Anzalone died on Sept. 27 at Smilow Cancer Center in Connecticut, PEOPLE confirms.

Born Sept. 15, 1989 in Norwalk, Connecticut, Desiree was the daughter of Julia Arnaz and Mario Anzalone. Her maternal grandfather, Desi Arnaz Jr., was the son of late I love Lucy stars Desi Sr. and Ball. Desiree was the first great-grandchild of her famous grandparents.

Though her daughter died “peacefully,” Julia, 51, tells PEOPLE that “watching her slip away was just, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. No mother should have to watch that.”

“She was so special. All our children are special, but this little girl was something else,” she adds. “We were [best friends]. We are still,” Julia shares of her only child, who she calls “my mini me.”

“She was so beautiful, just so so beautiful inside and out,” Julia says. “She really, really reminded me a lot of my grandmother, more so than I.”

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Desiree was first diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 25. After undergoing chemotherapy, she ultimately decided to get a double mastectomy. Although she was in remission for a period of time, she learned two years ago that her cancer had returned as stage 4 and had spread to her liver, lungs and bones.

“She probably would have been with us for a few more years — it was starting to spread a lot more, and the tumors were getting bigger — but we expected her to stay at least through the holidays. What went wrong is she kept getting fluid around her heart and then they kept doing surgeries and it would come back like two weeks later. And this time, they did the surgery and came back 12 hours later and [said], ‘You’ve got days, if hours.’ So that was really tough,” Julia tells PEOPLE. “I was there before that happened. It was unimaginable.”

Desiree Anzalone/Instagram Desiree Anzalone with her mother, Julia Arnaz

Prior to her death Desiree, a photographer, was receiving hormonal chemotherapy.

She wanted to raise “awareness” for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Julia says, and “to give awareness for young girls her age because this does happen. It’s rare, but it does happen. And Desiree wanted to put awareness out for if you feel anything, just because you’re a certain age doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to somebody.”

RELATED: Remembering the Stars We’ve Lost in 2020

Julia says that while Desiree “was a rare case,” it “does happen.”

“It’s just not talked about a lot. It’s usually people in their late 30s, 40s, 50s — not somebody at this age,” Julia says. “So that was something that she really wanted — to help other women like her. A preventative, really.”

The “first time” she was diagnosed

‘Seemingly Innocent’ Ball Games Cause New Ludlowe Virus Cases

FAIRFIELD, CT — Last week, coronavirus cases at Fairfield Ludlowe High School spiked after numerous parties were attended by students. This week, pick-up ball games are to blame, according to the superintendent.

As of Wednesday, 19 Fairfield Ludlowe students had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 14 cases compared to the same day last week, Director of Communications Andrea Clark confirmed.

Due to the continual rise in positive tests, the Fairfield Ludlowe building is closed Wednesday and Thursday, with students learning remotely. The school had briefly reopened Tuesday, after it was shuttered for two days last week. The district will consider extending the closure, “if the current situation changes,” Superintendent Mike Cummings said Wednesday in a community message.

“For the second week in a row, we find ourselves having to deal with the consequences of our students participating in weekend activities without masks and without appropriate social distancing,” Cummings said. “In this case, it wasn’t parties, but seemingly innocent activities like playing pick-up football or basketball, or any sponsored event.”

Those who contract the virus are contagious two days before showing mild symptoms, according to Cummings, who added the district expects to see more cases as students continue to be tested.

“So there are no ‘safe’ activities without masks and social distancing,” he said.

While the school district ensures students wear masks and socially distance at school, Cummings said students’ activities outside of school significantly impact the district’s ability to safely keep its buildings open.

“We understand that we are dealing with young people,” he said. “We understand how important it is for them to be with their friends. But we are dealing with a global pandemic and we cannot put all of our students and staff at risk because of the actions of a few.”

The district has not reported cases at any schools other than Fairfield Ludlowe, but as of Wednesday, 77 students and four staff members were in quarantine district-wide, according to the district website. Quarantines were affecting Fairfield Ludlowe and Fairfield Warde high schools, Roger Ludlowe and Tomlinson middle schools, and Osborn Hill and Riverfield elementary schools.

More than two dozen people outside the district, all of whom are in quarantine, had also been identified as close contacts of students who tested positive for the virus.

Cummings reminded parents Wednesday to keep students home if they have coronavirus symptoms or are awaiting test results, and to provide accurate and complete information if contacted by a member of the health department’s contact tracing team.

“The more they know the better decisions we can all make,” he said.

This article originally appeared on the Fairfield Patch

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How a medicine ball can improve your game

Athlete. This isn’t the first word that comes to mind for most when describing a golfer.

a woman sitting on the floor in front of a window

© Provided by Golfweek

Over the upcoming weeks, Averee Dovsek will share golf related fitness tips to keep you in the best shape to start optimizing your game like an athlete. Core work, nutrition, spine mobility, glute strength, and more— she will cover it all.

Many golfers spend too much time worrying about what their game looks like on the course, but it all starts off the course.

Combine what you learn through these fitness videos with Steve Scott’s instruction series and you will be a different golfer on and off the course.

Watch the first episode of “Fitness with Averee” above and keep an eye out for future episodes.

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A post shared by Golfweek (@golfweekmag) on Sep 30, 2020 at 9:09am PDT


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