LANCASTER – Nancy Csizmar was a kindergarten teacher who loved art, and for more than 30 years battled cancer, including a tumor behind her eye, facial cancer, skin cancer and two types of lung cancer. She carved goose eggs, emu eggs, ostrich eggs and gourds, winning awards in several craft shows and the Antelope Valley Fair.
While receiving chemotherapy, she gave away her carved eggs to other patients as a small gift. Nancy felt any woman having chemotherapy should have a little gift to light up their day. Even through her debilitating illness, she continued carving and giving away her eggs.
Nancy passed away from Pneumonia in December of 2017.
Her husband, Jack Csizmar, decided to learn how to carve eggs to carry on the tradition in her memory. After several weeks of errors and broken eggs, he began to carve acceptable goose eggs and began giving them to patients at the City of Hope in Lancaster. Each egg takes about two or more hours to create, but the response of happiness from the recipients kept him busy carving as new patients arrived at the infusion center. He was surprised to find so many women with cancer in the area.
As time passed, Jack added Kaiser Permanente in Lancaster and Panorama City, AV Cancer Center, City of Hope in Santa Clarita and City of Hope in Mission Hills to his delivery list. What started off as a small project expanded over time so that by June 2018, more than 500 Chemo Patients had received a carved egg.
Jack continues to carve eggs and has not set a limit on the number of eggs he will create in the future. As a two-time cancer survivor himself, he can easily empathize with the chemotherapy or radiation recipients.
The smiles, tears, and happiness keep him carving.
[Information via news release from Kaiser Permanente Antelope Valley.]