California cancer patient with amnesia identified by sister: NBC

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 02, 2015 10:53 AM

(Reuters) - A woman with amnesia who has been undergoing cancer treatments since she was found semiconscious in Southern California has been identified by her sister after turning to social media in a bid to rekindle her memory and find her family, an NBC affiliate in San Diego reported on Thursday.

Ashley Manetta, 53, never married and has sisters in Colorado and Maryland, according to NBC 7, which first reported on the woman's plight when she was only known as "Sam."

It said she was born in Pennsylvania, lived in Flagstaff, Arizona, and several years ago moved to Southern California, where she lived in La Jolla, Vista, and Carlsbad.

She was hospitalized after being found on a street near the beach in Carlsbad, about 30 miles north of San Diego, on Feb. 1.

In a post on Facebook before her identity was known, she said she suffers from "retro amnesia," and that doctors told her they had seen similar cases "with the kind of antibodies from the volleyball-sized tumor that was on my ovary."

She said she was undergoing chemotherapy treatments, that she had lost all her hair, and that her prognosis was not good.

"I pray my family will be found soon," she had written.

NBC 7 said its report about "Sam" was seen by Manetta's nephew, who telephoned his mother and told her the mystery woman was his aunt, Ashley.

The TV station said the two women then spoke by phone.

"It was extremely emotional. We were all sobbing. They're so sorry I had to go through what I did during this time without them," NBC 7 quoted Manetta as saying afterward.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver)