Community Champion Spotlight
Lauren Fights Her Brain Tumor
Lauren Fights Her Brain Tumor
Lauren’s mom, Beth, was frantic with fear and desperate for guidance. As a single parent, she was struggling to provide for Lauren and her two brothers. After Lauren’s surgery, Beth was introduced to Jessica, a Friends of Karen social worker. “She sat with me just listening and being a voice of reason,” Beth recalls. “I never knew how Friends of Karen could help my family.”
The doctor was able to remove most of The Brain Tumor. I like to describe it like I was a stuffed animal and he opened me up and took out the bad stuffing. But he couldn’t get it all out because he didn’t want to damage the good stuffing – my brain! The part of the tumor that is left goes away with medicine called chemotherapy. It takes 4 or 5 hours each time.
“When Friends of Karen pays to let you take your exhausted child home from chemo in a taxi instead of waiting on a corner for a bus, that makes time to be with my daughter,” says Beth. “It’s their emotional help that is so important. They take away the anxiety of can I live through this. I don’t know how I would have gotten through it all without Friends of Karen. They think of everything.”
The chemotherapy made my fair fall out. I was almost bald and kids in school asked, "Why are you bald?" Sometimes I said, "Because people are different" and sometimes I said, "I don't want to talk about it, it's too difficult to explain."
"The wisdom of a seven-year-old can always make you smile," Beth says, "but it's Friends of Karen that helps me through the nights when Lauren is crying, when she's asking, 'Why me?'"
I might come to school with a wig that looks very close to my own hair. I might be brave and come in with no wig at all! The good news is the medicine is working and soon I won't have to do any of this anymore.
In August 2011 Lauren went off medication, but a follow-up MRI in September showed that treatment had to continue, and a new round of chemotherapy was started. Beth knows that Friends of Karen will be there for her and her children as long as they need us to be – through all the unexpected and unknown twists of childhood cancer.
What’s good about Friends of Karen is that they don’t just think about me. When they send birthday or holiday presents, they always include my brothers. They think about my whole family.
Despite the setback, Lauren’s philosophy shows her resilience.
If you think positive, you can always get through it. Never give up!
Our goal is to raise $250,000 before December 31st for the children and families who need support at the most desperate time of their lives. Help us help them. As an incentive, an anonymous benefactor will match every $2 of your gift with $1 of their own. Your $50 gift becomes $75. Your $200 gift becomes $300! Your $1,000 gift becomes $1,500!! Think of what your dollars will do.
Thank you from Lauren and from all of our Friends of Karen children and their families!