Hello again, friends! I am so glad you are here for our second edition of the Genuinely Good Blog! I have always felt like one of the lucky ones, to know Lauren. And the more I get to know her, the luckier I feel. So today, I am immensely excited to introduce you to Lauren:
My sweet friend Lauren has been battling cancer for the past 24 years. She first started to get sick when she was 2 ½ years old and by the age of 4 was diagnosed with lymphomatoid granulomatosis and started on chemotherapy. Lauren, now 26 years old, has gone through many ups and downs with this diagnosis over the years including countless hospitals stays, doctors’ appointments, and stopping and starting treatments.
Lauren explained those first few years of being sick as very scary for her, not liking people at the hospital, being shy, and being scared to be around the doctors and nurses. Her mom, Vicky, commented,
“Until she was about seven she had all these years of being shy with the doctors, she hated going to the hospital, and she’d cry a lot. I just explained to her, ‘you’re just going to have to change your attitude.’ And she did! She started smiling more and just being happier and the nurses would always comment on how cute she was. I mean, it was ok for her to be shy, she just couldn’t be mean to the doctors and nurses anymore. That was a real turning point for her. She decided ‘I have to do this anyway, I might as well find the happy parts in this’.”
Now…can we all just take a moment and realize that Lauren was SEVEN YEARS OLD when this happened. As a seven-year-old Lauren realized the importance of taking a situation as it was and making it the best she possibly could. The only thing she could control was her attitude, and that is exactly what she did! Reason #542 why we all love Lauren.
When I asked Lauren what lessons she has learned through her experiences with cancer she said, “I have learned to just be happy. There are a lot of kids who got sick when they were young too and I have been able to help them.” Vicky added, “her favorite thing to do is help others. In high school they would often give her the role of helping others in her class because she is so good with kids and being patient. Lauren is always happy serving people.”
The last time Lauren had a relapse and got sick again (about 2 years ago), she and her family were told by the doctors that they had done everything they could do and at this point it was doing more damage than good. Lauren explained that at that point she decided she was ok with being done with treatments. But she knew she had more she could give to those around her.
One of Lauren’s favorite things to do is sew. So, she organized a group of people from her church group, neighborhood, friends and family. Together they gathered donated wedding gowns and created burial gowns for families that lost their infant. As a group they were able to make 50 gowns to donate to an organization that works with different Neonatal ICU’s. Of the experience, Vicky said, “it was a really cool thing to be involved with and help her get that organized. She brought together a lot of people that maybe didn’t know how to sew, or maybe only knew a little bit and they were still able to help.”
Check out this one minute video for a glimpse into Lauren's project:
I’ll forever be grateful for Lauren’s example of turning lemons into lemonade and then sharing the lemonade with everyone around her. Despite all her health challenges and trials, Lauren continues to look outward and serve others.
Lauren: THANK YOU for being a light to everyone around you. I am so grateful to be your friend. You are Genuinely Good.