Marnie Schulenburg, a soap-opera actor who starred on As the World Turns and One Life to Live, has died after two years of living with metastatic breast cancer. She was 37.
Schulenburg was known for her roles as Jo Sullivan on the One Life to Live reboot and Alison Steward on As the World Turns. She died on May 17, her rep confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Schulenburg’s husband, Zack Robidas, who is best-known for his role as Mark Ravenhead on HBO’s Succession, also confirmed his wife’s passing in a Facebook post.
“Please don’t say Marnie lost her battle to cancer. It’s simply not true. I watched her kick cancer’s ass everyday since diagnosis,” the post read, per the publication.
“She is incredible. We chose to attack her diagnosis with blind optimism. We only talked about the future and continued moving forward. I don’t know if this was right but it’s all we knew how to do.”
Schulenburg posted to Instagram for the last time on Mother’s Day, celebrating two years since her Stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis.
The photo shows her sitting next to her mom and holding her daughter, Coda, on her lap. She was diagnosed five months after Coda’s birth in December 2019.
“It’s not my ideal to be a 38 year old Mom who needs an oxygen tank to survive right now. I want to be strong and beautiful for her. I want to show her how to move throughout this world with compassion, strength, vivacity, humor and joy like my Mother showed me,” she wrote.
“So here’s to remembering that nothing is permanent. To soaking up the imperfections and that the best thing you can do for your child is make them feel loved, safe and supported just like my mother did for me. Screw the oxygen mask, just remember how to breathe.”
In October 2021 she posted about how she was learning to live with terminal cancer.
“This year instead I focused on coming to terms with my new normal, my specific type cancer and how my journey will differ from others,” she wrote.
“When I recall my misdiagnosis into correct diagnosis I still tense up but I’m no longer overcome with emotions by the memory of it.”
Schulenburg was open and honest in her ongoing fight against inflammatory breast cancer — a rare and aggressive subtype of breast cancer that is diagnosed in only one to five per cent of all breast cancer patients. It is more commonly diagnosed in women under 40.
According to breastcancer.org, most symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer develop quickly, within three to six months. It is often mistaken for mastitis in pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
Inflammatory breast cancer often does not present as a lump and may not show up on a mammogram. It is almost always diagnosed as Stage 3 or higher, as the cancer cells have spread to the skin.
Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread beyond the local breast and lymph region, most often to the lungs, brain, bones or liver. It is the only stage of breast cancer that kills.