In Memoriam: Lisa Laudico, a Bright Light for MBC Advocacy
The MBC Alliance celebrates the life and work of member Lisa Laudico, who passed away on August 6, 2022 at age 56. Lisa, who lived with metastatic breast cancer for five years, made an enduring impact on our community through her warmth, courage and advocacy work that touched countless people.
Diagnosed with de novo metastatic breast cancer in 2017, Lisa was the 4th generation in her family to have breast cancer, but the first to be diagnosed at Stage 4.
A powerhouse who worked in international business before earning her second master’s degree to become a clinical therapist who helped young children deal with trauma, Lisa was determined to continue to live her life to the fullest and make a difference for others dealing with MBC. Her calm yet magnetic presence, dedication, and extraordinary gift for bringing people together quickly made her a leading force in the community.
Lisa became a resolute volunteer for organizations like The Cancer Couch Foundation, where she supported fundraising initiatives like the #Reason4FreezinMBC campaign; and for SHARE Cancer Support, where she founded the Our MBC Life podcast.
Embodying SHARE’s philosophy that “no one should have to face cancer alone,” Lisa created Our MBC Life at the height of the pandemic to amplify the voices of fellow community members and share their day-to-day realities. As senior producer and host, she invited dozens of people living with MBC to share their stories, and partnered with experts in the field to raise awareness and explore solutions to challenges. With episodes covering everything from racial disparities in treatment for people of color to parenting and working with MBC, it is truly a podcast “for us, by us.”
“Lisa was a natural leader, and her passion for raising diverse voices and uniting those living with MBC was infectious,” says close friend Victoria Goldberg, founder of SHARE’s TalkMets Helpline and Lisa’s co-host and co-producer on Our MBC Life. “Her vision for the future was that a giant spotlight needs to shine on metastatic breast cancer research to change the outcomes of this disease, and her belief in our mission never wavered. Her beautiful voice will live on in the old episodes, and the podcast team will strive to continue to make her vision a reality.”
Lisa joined the MBC Alliance in 2019, and as a member of its Executive Group played a meaningful role in shaping the organization’s vision. She was a passionate advocate for the movement to allow more crossover in oncology clinical trials, which would permit patients to switch from a control group to experimental treatment; and for expanded access, to allow seriously ill patients more access to investigational drugs when other lines of approved treatment are exhausted. These areas of focus are now included in the Alliance’s strategic planning.
Lisa also brought exceptional talent and energy to her role as Co-Chair of the Alliance’s Awareness Task Force, working for two years to engage and educate the MBC community and the general public.
As project lead for the Alliance’s Here All Year awareness campaign, she carried out the vision of former Task Force Co-Chair Katherine O’Brien to create a yearlong campaign reminding the public that while October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, people with metastatic breast cancer are here all year. From mythbusting and new research to videos sharing personal stories of people living with MBC, Here All Year generated a rich body of work that explored a different topic around metastatic breast cancer each month.
Lisa also served as the project lead for the development of the Alliance’s new website launched this spring, helping to shape and communicate the early vision of a platform that would make it easier for people to understand and engage with the Alliance’s work, and connect to resources for living better with MBC.
“It was a joy to work with her, even on really hard topics,” says her friend and fellow Awareness Task Force Co-Chair Melissa Jenkins, Community Director of Breastcancer.org. “Lisa was sensitive, smart and fiercely dedicated – she wanted to keep going until we got it right, and make sure we got all the voices heard. And despite all she was going through, I never saw her waiver from her mission, or fail to ask others how they were doing. Though we were peers in age, she became a role model to me in how one can approach adversity and death in a human and open way. She was a woman of integrity and she’ll be sorely missed.”
Even with her unflagging work ethic, Lisa was a constant and loving presence in the lives of her friends and family. She delighted in spending time with her husband Tony, dog Kita, and two sons Alex and Matthias, who were the lights of her life. From playing games around the kitchen table during the pandemic to skiing and hiking with her sons and visiting extended Canadian family, she took great joy in remaining closely connected to her loved ones.
Lisa’s dazzling smile, kindness, and unrelenting work hours she put into the deep examination of all aspects of living and dying with MBC will be greatly missed. We are thankful for the time, talent, and immeasurable contributions she made to helping others to thrive while living with MBC.
A service was held in Lisa’s honor on September 3, 2022 at Green’s Farms Church, 71 Hillandale Road, Westport, CT 06880. A replay of the celebration of life livestream is available for viewing here.