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Emily Koski, Chesterfield mother with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, dies surrounded by family

Posted at 11:33 PM, Nov 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 02:15:49-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. --A Chesterfield community is remembering a beloved wife and mother who died after a long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Emily Koski,49, passed away in her home surrounded by her family Saturday.

WTVR CBS 6 profiled Emily in March when she was raising awareness for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

In May of 2018, Emily was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. The same disease that suddenly took her older sister's life just one year earlier.

"I thought I also had 43 days to live," Emily told Tracy Sears. "I can't be angry at all the doctors who missed my diagnosis, it's not their fault."

After her sister's death, Emily had genetic testing to determine her chances of developing the fatal disease. The test results showed she had a minimal chance of just 6%. But a few months later, Emily began feeling pain in her calves while she was running. The pain eventually spread to other parts of her body.

Pancreatic cancer occurs in the abdomen. The disease is difficult to treat because it is often detected late, spreads rapidly and has a poor prognosis, with a 5-year survival rate of just 1% in its late stages.

"The thing that is so deceptive about pancreatic cancer is it's in the abdomen, but it's so deep in the abdomen by the time you have any abdominal pain, it's stage three or four," Emily said.

While there are only 55,000 cases each year, pancreatic cancer is among the leading causes of cancer death in the United States.

Whether training for marathons, running a successful interior design business, or raising five beautiful daughters in her blended family, Emily found passion in everything she does.

"My friends have literally carried me through this, carried me and carried my family through," Emily said. "I don't think it's any mistake that they've been my friends. They're my world."

In fact, she even put together a handstand challenge that went viral. And in her last days, Emily encouraged others to join the fight.

A community walk/run will be held in her honor in the Salisbury community at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23.

Last year's event helped raise more than $11,000.

Click here for more information about the run and how you can help.The proceeds will go directly to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.