Friends and family of Ana Maretic received bad news at the end of December. Maretic, a longtime vet technician at Jackson’s Animal Care Clinic who was battling cancer, has passed away.
Maretic was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. After thinking it was in remission, her doctor told her in October the disease had metastasized, spreading to her liver. At the beginning of December she went to a functional medicine clinic in Arizona to start a new treatment that included lifestyle and immunotherapy components, as well as low-dose chemotherapy.
The treatment started by attempting to improve her immune system and liver health so she could begin chemo, but she died Dec. 27, before that part of the treatment started.
“Of course we’re devastated,” said Tracey Joralemon, her wife, “but we know she’s at peace.”
Joralemon, who spent the month of December in Arizona, and their daughters, Zoe and Natalie, were with Maretic when she died.
“It was nice we got to spend Christmas together,” her wife said, “but she was struggling the past week.”
Maretic was a veterinarian in her native Croatia and had worked as a vet technician at Animal Care Clinic for eight years as she pursued her license in this country. She spent the summer in Arizona at a prestigious veterinary internship after receiving her U.S. credentials.
That internship was meant to be the springboard that returned her to Animal Care Clinic in a veterinarian role, said co-worker Robert Carmichael, a veterinarian who worked alongside Maretic for years.
“We were so excited at the thought of her coming back and working with us,” he said. “It would have been the highlight of my career to work side by side with her as a veterinarian.”
Family friend Brooke Rice organized a GoFundMe to cover the costs of the Arizona clinic, which insurance didn’t cover. As of Friday, it had raised nearly $65,000 from 274 donors, and a note from Rice said it was still collecting funds since the family’s bills continue to grow.
“That was a blessing in the end for Ana to see how loved she was in her community,” Joralemon said. “We’re thankful for everything.”