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'Life, With Cancer' is dad's tribute to Lauren Terrazzano

Undated photo of Lauren Terrazzano after her surgery

Undated photo of Lauren Terrazzano after her surgery and chemotherapy. Photo Credit: Veronica Marino

Frank Terrazzano always wanted to do anything he could for his daughter, a Newsday reporter -- including writing a book for her after her death.

In "Life, With Cancer: The Lauren Terrazzano Story," the father pens a tribute to his only child, jumping between her fight with lung cancer, childhood and career highs.

"She wrote about society's problems, the plight of the homeless, the plight of the elderly, of abused children," said Terrazzano, 71, of Hull, Mass. "That's what I wanted people to know."

Terrazzano started writing about her in December 2010, and one thing drove him to finish.

"She always said to me 'Daddy, some day I'm going to write a book,' " he said. "But she never got an opportunity to do so. I made the decision I'm going to write the book for her."

Terrazzano died of cancer at age 39 in 2007, having attracted a following with her informative and often funny Newsday column, "Life, With Cancer."

In one passage, Terrazzano said Lauren was being treated for cancer pain in the hospital when Camel tobacco's marketing director returned her calls for an interview.

A friend held the phone up to her ear, and another, Dina Fernandez, a journalist from Guatemala, listened to the interview, the father wrote:

"She never did mention that fact that she was ill herself. Dina could not help but wonder how he would have felt if he had seen her as she was -- the way she looked as she was talking to him from . . . a hospital bed, with a morphine lollipop between her teeth. Lauren was the best reporter Dina had ever known, and what she witnessed that day only solidified that in her mind."

Some book profits will go to Uniting Against Lung Cancer, which gave Terrazzano an award for her columns.

Linda Wenger, its executive director, hopes the book will educate people on the disease, which kills 160,000 people a year in the United States.

"It's seen as a self-inflicted disease," she said. "We have no advocates, because nobody's alive to tell the story."

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