After decades of service to the community of Santee, including the Santee Food Bank and the Santee Relay for Life, beloved community activist Lisa Hopewell passed away from cancer on December 14, 2013. During the past several years, while battling first triple-negative Stage 1 breast cancer and later Stage 4 metastatic cancer, Hopewell continued to advocate for cancer research. She was named the Santee Relay for Life Survivor of the Year in 2013 and spoke at the opening ceremonies for the event. Services will be held on January 11, 2014, at Foothills United Methodist Church in La Mesa, beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Hopewell began her service to the Santee community while serving as a teacher’s aide with the school district, according to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune. After learning that several families were living in their cars and that many children were coming to school hungry, she became involved with the Santee Food Bank. Over the years she became a volunteer administrator and was instrumental in securing new facilities for the Food Bank in 2008.
In 2010 Hopewell was honored as the 2009 Santee Citizen of the Year for her work with the Santee Food Bank and the Santee Relay for Life. That same year she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her dedication to cancer research took on a new meaning. Rather than sit back and mourn her situation, she tackled cancer with the same energy she devoted to every other part of her life. Over the next two years she underwent 11 surgeries, but continued to advocate for the Relay for Life.
In 2012, just as it seemed the battle had been won, Hopewell was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic cancer. Even knowing that her own battle was likely nearing its end, her focus was on others. “I go to treatment centers every week, and I see the pain and sickness that this disease causes so many people,” Hopewell told those in attendance at the 2013 Santee Relay for Life opening ceremonies.
While Lisa Hopewell’s battle is over, her dedication and spirit will continue to inspire and encourage the Santee community for generations to come. Donations in honor of Hopewell can be made to the Santee Food Bank — Lisa Hopewell Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 712054, Santee, 92072-2054 or the Santee United Methodist Church — Lisa Hopewell Memorial Fund, 8964 N. Magnolia Ave., Santee, 92071.