Meet Elizabeth "Liz" Lucas
"Warning, When I Am An Old Woman," the beloved poem by Jenny Joseph, appears on many of the lovely greeting cards and gift items Elizabeth "Liz" Lucas creates. It playfully describes the sense of freedom of our "golden years," a period of life which Liz, herself, might not have lived long enough to enjoy.
"I'm a survivor of both breast and kidney cancer," Liz shares. "My breast cancer has been in remission for 17 years, following treatment at St. Mary. And my metastasized kidney cancer has been controlled well enough for me to live an active, enjoyable life, thanks to surgery and an initially aggressive and then innovatively less disruptive, long-term chemotherapy regimen. I have been one of the very fortunate ones, thanks to the care I received at St. Mary and at Pacific Shores Medical Group Cancer Center."
And Liz Lucas has given back to St. Mary Medical Center. She has dedicated countless hours of service and provided generous financial support to the medical center. Liz served as chairperson of the St. Mary Medical Center Foundation Board (2001 to 2003), served on the hospital Community Board (2007 to 2009) and also was chair of the Foundation 21 Society. She is now an emeritus member of the Foundation board and frequently participates in Foundation activities.
In 2005, Liz started the Justice Campbell and Elizabeth Lucas Family Educational Fund. A portion of that fund helped toward the purchase of St. Mary's second digital mammography unit in 2013. A patient room was named in honor of Liz's husband, Justice Campbell Lucas, who also was a strong supporter of St. Mary, serving for many years on the Board of Directors. Former Long Beach Mayor Eunice Sato named a hospital room in Liz's honor.
In addition to her financial and leadership support, Liz has provided the hospital with gifts of her own fine art. Two inspiring calligraphy pieces are on display at St. Mary -- one on display in the Sisters' Dining Room, and the other in the new mammography center's foyer, in honor of the late Dr. Vincent Esposito. Other pieces of her work are in the Pacific Shores Medical Group's treatment center.
Liz's latest St. Mary project is her creation of embellished visors for cancer patients to wear during treatment. She also produces a line of "What Cancer Cannot Do" products that offer encouragement to individuals battling the disease.
Liz has been good to St. Mary Medical Center in so many ways, and for this she credits as her inspiration Sister Alphonsus Tallon, who dedicated 70 years of her life to the patients of St. Mary's.
"Sr. Alphonsus would come to my room when I was recovering from breast cancer surgery and she always took my hand, saying that I must be tired, and asking if she could get me a healthy snack or a soda," she recalls. "I would always just think that she must be the one who was tired after so many years of service to so many people."
Liz decided she wanted to leave a lasting legacy for the medical center by making a gift from her estate, becoming a member of the Sr. Alphonsus Tallon Circle of Philanthropists, a giving circle that recognizes those who have provided for St. Mary in their estate plans. "As a charter member of the Sr. Alphonsus Circle, I would simply encourage everyone to keep St. Mary Medical Center in their hearts and support this hospital in any way they can. St. Mary's has taken wonderful care of the community of Long Beach for so many, many years. It's nice to be able to do something that will help impact others for years to come."
As an artist and entrepreneur, Liz is an inspiration to others. She was first granted exclusive publishing rights in 1984 to the copyrighted poem, "When I Am An Old Woman." Since those early years, the "When I Am An Old Woman" product line has expanded to include prints, T-shirts, sweatshirts, purple tote bags, framed quotations, plaques, magnets, decorative boxed note cards, snack trays and other gift products, all featuring the entire poem. More than two million copies of Elizabeth's original card have been sold, which goes to show that one is never too old to have fun and succeed!