In Memoriam: Lara MacGregor, Advocate for Hope
The MBC Alliance celebrates the life and work of member Lara MacGregor, who passed away on January 18, 2022, at age 45. Lara, who lived with metastatic breast cancer for eight years, made an enduring mark on thousands of people through her energy, empathy, and commitment to inspiring others with cancer to embrace a life of hope and meaning.
As the founder of Hope Scarves, a nonprofit member of the MBC Alliance, Lara made immense contributions towards raising public awareness for the disease, fundraising for life-saving research, and building a community that helps people living with cancer to navigate their diagnosis with greater hope, determination and loving support.
First diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, when she was just 30 years old and 7 months pregnant with her second child, Lara was given a box of scarves by another survivor with a note that read “You can do this.” Inspired by the warmth of the gesture and the knowledge that another young woman had successfully faced cancer, Lara decided to pay it forward.
Today, her international nonprofit Hope Scarves has sent more than 20,000 scarves to people with cancer in every state and 20 countries. Affectionately known as “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarves,” the organization shares not just scarves but encouragement and community, highlighting personal stories of hope that let other people living with cancer know they are not alone in their journey.
After Lara was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2014, Hope Scarves broadened its mission to begin fundraising for MBC research. To date, more than $1.5 million has been raised through Hope Scarves and anonymous matching donors, with a goal of raising $150,000 annually.
Through both Hope Scarves and her personal blog and podcast My Hopeful Life, Lara moved and uplifted both the MBC community and the public. From appearances on Good Morning America to being named a Hope College Distinguished Alumni and 2021 L’Oreal Woman of Worth, her joy, resilience and vulnerability resonated with all who experienced her story and spirit.
And from cheering on her sons at sports games to adventurous vacations in the great outdoors, Lara never lost her passion for embracing life with love and enthusiasm. She truly lived her words that “a hopeful life is about learning to hold both fear and joy in the same hand, at the same time.”
Lara’s friendship, energy, leadership, and commitment to making an impact for others will be sadly missed. We are grateful to her for shining a spotlight on the MBC story, bringing hope to others, and moving the needle for MBC research.