“She was beautiful from the inside out. Always smiling,” recalled Frank Lacaria of his wife Suzanne (Sue), who passed away on December 21, 2016. “Sue was the type of person who always remained very positive, and continued to be herself, despite going through a tough battle with melanoma.”
First diagnosed in 2012 when she was pregnant with their youngest daughter Sara, Sue remained hopeful and showed tremendous strength throughout her journey. As Frank said, “If you didn’t know her, you’d never have guessed she was sick. She stayed as active as she could, continuing to run, and even completing several half marathons while fighting cancer.”
“Sue was very invested in living a healthy life and it was important to her to be fit, and eat well. She even became a vegetarian and was passionate about that,” said Frank. Equally important to Sue was her family. With her three girls – Gabriella, Sofi and Sara – she loved family get togethers and relished being part of a big family. Being able to have much of her treatment at home meant the world to her and gave her family the opportunity to be by her side as much as possible.
Sue was also extremely dedicated to her profession as a Registered Nurse and was proud to have worked at the Hospital in various departments including In-patient Unit 2C, the Intensive Care Unit, and, most recently, the Cardiac Catheterization Lab. “She loved being a Nurse,” said Frank. “I remember her saying it left her feeling energized, being able to help people. Especially when she was in the Cath Lab she loved being able to work with the close-knit team there. Sue had such a big heart and she deeply felt the loss when someone passed away. I know that’s what made her a great Nurse – she genuinely cared for her patients.”
Outside of work, Sue loved to entertain, having friends and family over often. Despite fighting cancer, Frank recalled that she was “always there for people and not focused on herself.”
Throughout her cancer journey, whatever treatment she could have in Thunder Bay, she did. “Our team of doctors were all very good to her,” said Frank. “It was very, very tough to watch her go through this. I am grateful, though, that we had so much support. Being able to stay here in Thunder Bay, where we both grew up and where much of our family lives was so important to both of us. The times we did need to travel for specialized care were made easier thanks to the system that’s in place here.”
Sue will be fondly remembered by so many who knew her and this was demonstrated with the outpouring of gifts that were made in her memory to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. To date, 266 gifts have been made, totaling $13,466.71. “I’m truly thankful people chose to remember Sue in this way,” said Frank. “It’s what Sue would have wanted – to be able to continue helping people here at the Hospital.”