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Patrick Swayze’s Widow Recalls The Devastating Moment She Learned Her Huband Had Cancer 

Patrick Swayze

Lisa Niemi Swayze recalled her exact feelings the moment she learned her husband, Patrick Swayze, had cancer, and she shared where she found the strength to continue living after his death.

Lisa spoke with People recently to share more about her partnership with Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The former dancer teamed up with the nonprofit as a way of honoring her late husband, who passed away from stage four pancreatic cancer in 2008.

“I want to finish the fight that he fought so hard for, fought so hard to win,” she told the publication. “And just because he is gone, it doesn’t mean it’s over, and I want to keep it going for him.”

Lisa and Patrick had been married for about 31 years when doctors diagnosed the Dirty Dancing star with the disease. At that time, there was only a 6% chance of survival. So both of them knew that Patrick’s fate had been determined.

“It was the worst night of my life,” she admitted. “I know [Patrick] said, ‘I’m a dead man.’ But for me even, that night, I slept in the hospital room with him on the cot. I felt like a nail was being hammered into my own coffin. Your life turns on a dime and there’s no escaping the reality of what that diagnosis means. It’s just awful. It’s just a dreadful moment.”

Lisa Niemi Swayze Thought Patrick’s Death Would “Kill” Her

Because Patrick Swayze’s cancer was so advanced, she knew she wouldn’t have much time with him. And she was thankful when doctors were able to keep him alive longer than expected.

“It was impossible to turn around at that point,” she shared. “although he miraculously managed to survive 22 months after that.”

Years after Patrick’s death, Lisa was able to find another chance at happiness. In 2014, she married jeweler Albert DePrisco, but she still says Patrick is “still with her” today.

Lisa admitted that she went through a period of intense grief and depression that she didn’t think she could bear in the months after her husband’s death. And she found strength in the others who have had to navigate through similar pain.

“I am amazed how people survive losing someone they love,” she said. “That’s one of the things that got me through. Like, ‘Hey, wait a minute. People do this all the time. If they could do it, so can I.”

“And that’s as painful as it is because I thought, ‘This is going to kill me. Grief is going to kill me.’ But you know what? It doesn’t kill everybody,” she added. “If they can do it, so can I.”

This story’s featured image is by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

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