Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Julia Desiree I Love Lucy granddaughter

Last fall, we reported that Desiree Anzalone, the only great-grandchild of legendary “I Love Lucy” stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, had died at the age of 31 following a difficult battle with breast cancer.

Now, Desiree’s mother Julia Arnaz, the granddaughter of the comedy legends, is speaking out to reveal the touching way she’s using her family name to honor her only child’s memory.

Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz’s Granddaughter Wants To Use Family Name To Help Others

Julia, 51, told Page Six that she is eager to use her family’s name and “legacy as a platform” in the hopes of encouraging more young women to get mammograms.

The grieving mother wants to make sure that no other woman has to go through what her daughter did at such a young age. 

Julia explained that Desiree was only 25 when she noticed a lump in her breast and went to the doctor to have it checked, but she was told that women as young as her don’t need to worry about breast cancer, and was dismissed.

Months later, after the lump started to hurt, Desiree went back to the doctor for more tests. That’s when the devastating diagnosis of stage 2 breast cancer came in. 

Full Story: Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz’s Only Great-Granddaughter Dies Of Breast Cancer At 31

‘Those Four Or Five Months, It’s A Huge Difference’

“Those four or five months, it’s a huge difference,” Julia recalled as she became emotional. “And this beautiful angel, my daughter … so many young women might say, ‘Ah it’s a cyst, no big deal.’ But she really advocated for herself and I encourage other young women to do this …”

Julia is hoping to use her family name to launch a foundation in her daughters honor. She’s also trying to expand coverage for mammograms and ultrasounds for younger women in Connecticut, which is where she lives. 

“It’s [Desiree] working through me,” Julia explained of her work. “She is God’s working angel and that’s what keeps me going.”

Desiree Was A Lot Like Lucille Ball 

Weeks after Desirae’s death, Julia told People Magazine about how much her daughter was like her famous grandmother Ball, who died in 1989. 

“She really, really reminded me a lot of my grandmother, more so than I,” Julia said at the time. 

Related: Lucille Ball’s Daughter Reveals Secrets About Her Mom’s Marriage to Desi Arnaz

Julia is the daughter of Desi Arnaz Jr., who she said Desiree was very close with. 

“She spent lots of time with my dad, she lived with him for about four or five months too,” she said. “He helped me very much through my life and helped my daughter through college.” 

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz would undoubtedly be devastated to see what their great-granddaughter went through. The adoring couple would also be proud to see that her death will not be in vain.

If one small comfort can come from this, it’s that the Arnaz family name may help other women from meeting the same fate as Desiree. 

Mentioned in this article:

More About: