About Liz

Elizabeth Anna Smagala Tate, 38, lost her 13 month long battle with breast cancer on Sunday, June 8, 2014.

Liz was born in Krakow, Poland on August 19, 1975, the daughter of a solidarity leader. Her family was expelled from Poland and immigrated to America in 1983 with only the $40 that they managed to smuggle out in a tube of toothpaste and ball point pen.

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Since it was summer and school was out of session, Liz's first English lessons came from Spiderman cartoons and the TV show Dallas. Liz's family survived on welfare while her parents re-earned their degrees. Liz attended UC Davis for college.

Liz epitomized strength, courage, grace and resilience during her battle with cancer. No matter how dark the outlook or bad the news, Liz remained determined to win the fight and squeeze as much as she could out of life.

After graduating, she moved to Washington, DC, where she worked for two members of Congress and California Governor Gray Davis.

Liz moved back to California in 2000 to attend law school at UCLA. Liz met her future husband, Phil Tate, while at UCLA. Liz and Phil quickly became inseparable and eventually married in 2007.

After graduating from law school, Liz worked at two law firms before being offered an in-house position by her client, Kilroy Realty Corporation.

Liz epitomized strength, courage, grace and resilience during her battle with cancer. No matter how dark the outlook or bad the news, Liz remained determined to win the fight and squeeze as much as she could out of life. 

Liz's proudest accomplishment is her beautiful son Lucas. Lucas was born on January 29, 2013, just three and a half months before Liz was diagnosed with stage 4, triple negative breast cancer. Lucas lifted his mother's spirits and provided her the strength she needed during her treatments.

Liz did not wallow in self-pity or waste time asking why. Instead, she focused on the fight and on spending time with her friends and loved ones, especially her son Lucas.

While Liz would describe herself as prickly and, in fact, intimidated many people, she was also an incredibly warm and caring person, as evidenced by the vast number of people who call her their best friend. Her friends describe her as beautiful, smart, courageous, funny and strong. She was truly a force of nature.

Liz is survived by her husband, Phil and their 16 month old son, Lucas, her mother and father, Janet and Walter, her brother Thomas and mother-in-law, Holly "Oma" Tate. 

One of Liz's last wishes was to contribute her story to the fight to end cancer. 

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