Help Macavan Baird Fight Cancer

December 12, 2018

Macavan A. Baird

January 22, 1976 - December 10, 2018

Macavan Alexander Baird, 42, of Burlington, North Carolina passed away after a 17-month battle with lung cancer on Monday, December 10, 2018.

Macavan is survived by his loving wife Shannon Lundeen and their sons Paxton, Harlan, and Phoenix Baird-Lundeen, parents Macaran and Iris (Kris) Baird of Minnesota, sister Trina-Marie Baird and her husband Todd Gutmann of Oregon.

Macavan met Shannon at Colgate University, where they both studied philosophy. Their story is one of strength, growth, compassion and of course love. Macavan was an inspirational father whose natural instinct, thoughtfulness and intelligence brought wisdom, guidance and humor - and a deep love of all things superhero - to every facet of his boys’ lives. Macavan’s presence was understated, but was a source of strength to both his friends and family. Those around him felt safe. He was always willing to explore both the lighthearted side of life, as well as the deep feelings and emotions that we feel when contemplating our existence. He was a fierce friend, father, son, and husband.

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Macavan spent his early years in rural Wabasha, Minnesota and three years in Edmond, Oklahoma before enjoying his middle and high-school years in Syracuse, New York. He attended Colgate from 1994-1998, graduating with a B.A. in Philosophy. In 2000, Macavan pursued a dream of continuing his formal studies of Eastern philosophy and moved to Honolulu, Hawai’i where he earned his M.A. in Comparative Philosophy at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 2002. He then decided to pursue a career in law and moved to Philadelphia in 2003 to begin law school at Rutgers University, Camden. That same year while Shannon was pursuing her Ph.D. in Philosophy at Stony Brook University, Macavan and Shannon reunited and eventually married in 2006. After graduating from law school, Macavan served as a clerk for a magistrate judge and then worked in corporate litigation before joining the employment and labor law firm of Littler and Mendelson, P.C. where he worked as an attorney on the CaseSmart team until his passing. From the time they were married, Macavan and Shannon lived and worked in Philadelphia until 2013 when they moved to the Cleveland area for two years before settling in Burlington, North Carolina in 2015.  

To celebrate Macavan's life, there will be a Gathering of Friends on Elon's campus in the Sacred Space of the Numen Lumen Pavilion, at 2 pm EST on Saturday, December 15th. The Numen Lumen Pavilion is located at 301 E. Haggard Avenue in Elon, NC. A reception will be held at The Oak House following the gathering.

The Baird-Lundeen family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the medical teams at the Duke Cancer Institute and the Hospice and Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to  to support Shannon and Macavan’s family or to a charity of your choice in honor of Macavan.


August 29, 2018

I am writing to you all from my new home base in Burlington, NC where I have moved to help Macavan and Shannon care for their new baby, Phoenix Madison. It’s been more than 40 years since I last cared for an infant around the clock, but I’m relearning the ropes and am enjoying this special time with my newest grandson!

I think many of you know what Macavan and Shannon have been going through over the course of the past 13 months, but here is a recap for those of you who are just learning about their ordeal: After weeks suffering from a serious cough, and being incorrectly diagnosed as having pneumonia, on July 15, 2017, Macavan was at the pool with his family when he coughed and sneezed simultaneously…and cracked a boned in his spine. At the ER, they didn’t like his X-rays so did a CT scan of his chest and found a large mass that turned out to be adenocarcinoma – a lung cancer that had hit stage IV and spread to his spine, weakening it and leading to him cracking a vertebra with a sneeze and cough.  It may be an understatement to say it has been a very rough road since then, as you might imagine, and also complicated by the fact that Macavan and Shannon found out Shannon was pregnant with Phoenix 8 days prior to his diagnosis. (Phoenix joined the family on March 15th, just three days after they learned the clinical trial drug was no longer effective.)  Fortunately, they are made of tough stuff, and they have a lot of support. They have great friends from college who have helped them in every way imaginable and that’s made a huge difference.  And, Macavan's colleagues at Littler, Mendelson as well as Shannon’s work community at Elon University have been models of a supportive circle.  Add to that the support of all of us—family, friends, and acquaintances from all phases of their lives—and they are hanging in there.

Macavan has been through 3 different treatment plans, each of which has failed – meaning that his disease progressed despite the treatment.  So, they moved past each of those and Macavan is now doing immunotherapy, the goal of which is to both boost his own immune system to fight the cancer, and help his system “target” the cancer.  The side effects are much more tolerable than those of his prior treatments (2 separate chemotherapy regimens and a clinical trial drug that was very tough on him and even left him with lots of scars).  For now, the immunotherapy leaves him very tired and causes some swelling in his ankles. Other than that, he’s feeling pretty decent these days. He has a scan in early September to see what’s happening in his lungs after being on immunotherapy for 2 months.  It is quite a challenge, mentally & emotionally, waiting to get such important news and knowing that things could change radically depending on what the scan shows.

In the meantime, Shannon and Macavan try to have a sense of humor about nearly everything, especially cancer, because there’s nothing much else to do AND because it really does help. They are wired to be irreverent and sarcastic, so they do laugh or at least chuckle often.  Their new, deliciously fat and happy baby boy along with their older kids’ resiliency and spirit sure do help.

Please continue to support this family in any way you can. Regardless of what next week’s scan shows, there will still be a long road ahead and they need as much love and support from us as they can get.

Judy (Shannon's mom)

Donations (0)

  • Christina Gad 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 7 mos
  • James Craig 
    • $300 
    • 7 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 7 mos
  • Linda Sternheimer 
    • $50 
    • 7 mos

Organizer and beneficiary 

Judith Lafferty 
Burlington, NC
Shannon Lundeen 
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