The New Zealand thoroughbred industry is mourning the passing of Lisa Chittick, who lost her brave battle with leukemia on Tuesday morning. She was 44.
The wife of Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick, the mother of Charlotte, George and Harry and a member of the O’Sullivan family, she had been fighting the disease for the past 14 months.
The final stage of that battle took place in Los Angeles, where she has been with her family for the past six weeks.
“It’s a terribly sad time for us all, Lisa was just a wonderful person and a big part of so many people’s lives,” Mark Chittick’s father Garry told The Informant. “As well as being a dearly loved member of the O’Sullivan family, Lisa was an integral part of our lives and of Waikato Stud.
“She wasn’t just Mark’s wife and greatest supporter, she played a huge part in the stud, she was full of energy and ideas, and the place will never be the same without her.
“Lisa was great fun, she enjoyed the glitz and glamour of racing and she was the first to tackle whatever needed doing and got the job done.”
Garry Chittick said Lisa’s decision to travel to Los Angeles for further treatment was typical of her fighting spirit. “The glimmer of hope that was offered by what is a new and revolutionary drug kept her going, but in the end she was not one of those fortunate enough to respond to it.”
Lisa died with Mark and her children at her bedside. “We’ve spoken with Mark and the kids and they’re very accepting of Lisa’s passing,” Chittick said.
“On behalf of the family I have to extend our gratitude to so many people from around the world who have provided massive support to us all through this very difficult time. It has been truly appreciated.”
Lisa Chittick is survived by her husband, Mark, and children Charlotte, George and Harry; parents Dave and Marie O’Sullivan, and brothers Paul, Lance, and Mark, and sister Debra.
Reporting: New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing