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Elizabeth’s highly motivated and extremely organized mother, Monica, graduated from Western Technical College with a degree in Secretarial Sciences.  Empowered by her daughter’s valiant fight against lung cancer,  Monica is very passionate about the possibilities for growth of  the Living For Liz non-profit and the effects the non-profit will have on the future of lung cancer research.  She is committed to bringing this disease to the forefront of all cancer research initiatives.


Lieutenant Colonel Steven Holman has been a career nurse for over 30 years. While mobilized for duty helping the wounded soldiers with remote care in their home towns, Steven learned of his daughter’s lung cancer diagnosis. After years of comforting patients and families with terminal and life changing diseases, he found himself on the other side of the fence. Elizabeth’s family witnessed Elizabeth’s courage in battling this illness and maintaining her grace with others around her to the end. This has given Steven the desire and drive to push Living for Liz forward to make others more aware of this killing cancer and to help in the fight for prevention and earlier detection. His hope is that others will not suffer as his daughter and family have.


Matt’s life changed on September 23rd, 2011, when Elizabeth, his wife of 13 months, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Elizabeth fought a very courageous battle, but passed away on April 7th, 2012. Inspired by his wife, Matt co-founded Living For Liz in an attempt to limit the number of families in the future who have to deal with losing their loved-ones to this horrible disease.


Health and wellness is something that runs in Joe’s blood.  With parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends in the medical field, it was just a matter of time before he joined in the business.  Joe is both a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the Viterbo University nursing school.  The nursing philosophy of care and service to others is a philosophy that Joe shared with Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had a strong passion for serving others and also hoped to further that through a career in nursing even after being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  Joe hopes that his work with Living for Liz will help educate others about preventing cancer and living long, healthy lives.


With a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Lauren currently works full time as General Manager and Sales Director of LA River Studios in Los Angeles. Event planning has been Lauren’s passion since she was 11 years old.  When Lauren moved to Los Angeles from Wisconsin in 2007, she landed in movie production and distribution at Newmarket Films before officially launching her event career at Yifat Oren & Associates in 2010.  Lauren left Oren’s office when Elizabeth (Lauren’s cousin), was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  Lauren immediately began planning a benefit for Elizabeth and her husband, Matt.  The Elizabeth Melde Benefit was held on January 14, 2012 and drew over 1,000 people. When Elizabeth passed away in April of 2012, Lauren co-founded Living For Liz in hopes of putting her event planning skills to good use.  “I want to keep the spirit of Elizabeth alive through our events, and I want to raise money to help rid the world of this deadly disease.”


Ruanna, friends with Elizabeth since high school, is the newest addition to the Living For Liz Board.  She currently resides in La Crescent, MN and works at Kwik Trip’s corporate offices. Ruanna has taken a very active roll in LizFest since it’s inception in hopes of bringing much needed awareness to lung cancer and ridding it of its smoking stigma… and also to get her fellow board members in the dunk tank. Ruanna’s quarky sense of humor is a huge asset to the L4L team!




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