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Maria Enriquez

1960 - 2011

Maria Enriquez

A San Diego native, Maria was born in La Jolla and grew up in Encinitas with her two sisters and three brothers (and a pony!). She attended the University of San Diego where she majored in Economics. After graduating she began a successful 25 year career with Xerox Corporation. Although she held many titles and earned many accolades during her time there, one of her favorite roles was being able to teach others as a sales training manager. Throughout her career she would earn many performance awards and recognitions. Though she loved her work, her heart and soul was always with her family. In 1986 she married Cipriano and their daughter Rebeca was born in 1991. Deeply connected with all of her relatives, she couldn’t bear to be too far from everyone in San Diego, so she, Cipi and Rebeca settled in San Marcos.

In early 2003 she was diagnosed with stage 3b non-small cell lung cancer. This was shocking since she was a non-smoker and came from a non-smoking family. For 8½ years she battled this disease but sadly she passed away on Thanksgiving Day, 2011.

During her recovery from her initial chemo and radiation treatments, Maria (ever type-A) wanted to "do something" to bring attention to the great disparity in funding for lung cancer research and the “smokers disease” stigma often attached to it.  In 2007, Maria found a lung cancer walk in Manhattan Beach and brought a small group of family and friends to check it out. The next year she encouraged Kathleen and Mike (two fellow, local lung cancer patients) to attend the walk and see what it was all about. They were so moved by the experience and the community that surrounded them, they decided to bring a walk to San Diego. Maria, Kathleen, Mike, & Sue (Mike's wife) dove in headfirst. No one had experience planning a walk like this, but they knew theirs was a cause worth fighting for. With the support of their family and loved ones, this small group of lung cancer patients and their spouses put together the first ever lung cancer walk in San Diego in March, 2009.

Maria leaves behind a loving group of family and friends. She was very easy to like and laughed easily. The San Diego Breath of Hope Lung Cancer Walk is a wonderful part of the legacy she leaves behind: it was her pride and passion, and gave her a way to use her energy to help others.