For Texas woman, SPAM Jam is worth living for

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2000

SPAM Jam always has attracted visitors from all over the United States.

Thursday, June 29, 2000

SPAM Jam always has attracted visitors from all over the United States. For Denise Serafini of Long Oaks Ranch near San Antonio, Texas, coming to Austin’s annual festival is the chance of a lifetime.

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In 1991, Serafini was diagnosed with breast cancer, which gradually moved into her bones.

"Every day I have pain," she said Wednesday by telephone. "But you can’t sit around and cry about it."

Serafini, an event planner for an advertising agency, has served as auction chair for the San Antonio Symphony League. Her illness has forced her to take on fewer leadership roles as she doesn’t have as much energy as she has had in the past.

The diagnosis hasn’t stopped her from living life to the fullest, however.

"None of us know how long our life is going to be," she said. "Do the things you enjoy doing and do them now."

Serafini will be arriving in Austin on Friday with her husband and staying for SPAM Jam events through Sunday. She hopes to experience all the town has to offer. While Serafini wants to watch the games and races on the lake, there is one SPAM Jam event in particular that she is anticipating.

"I want to listen to the Spamettes," she said.

Having never been to Minnesota, Serafini also is excited about exploring the countryside.

"I am quite interested in flowers," she said. "I want to see what people plant in their yards. I also want to drive around the city and look at the architecture and landscape."

Serafini feels that her diagnosis has given her a new lease on life, allowing her to participate in things she may not have otherwise.

Doing so has not always been easy, however. At the beginning of 1996, the cancer was so painful that Serafini couldn’t sit, stand or walk. She takes a monthly bone medication that leaves her with less energy, but has not taken away her positive attitude.

"I’m trying to keep on my feet until something comes along," she said. "I think God only gives us what we can handle."

For now, Serafini is living life day by day, anticipating her upcoming trip to SPAMTOWN USA.

"Everybody I’ve talked to has been so nice and helpful," she said. "Y’all must be the friendliest town in America."