By J1 Reporter: Anne Masek
When LesLee Hacker heard the traumatizing news about her 10-year-old daughter, Lauren, she was speechless. She heard these certain words from the doctor that no one wants to hear, “Your child has cancer.”
Lauren Hacker, also known as Lolo, has one of the most dangerous cancers. It’s called Acute Myeloid Leukemia or AML. It has a low survival rate and a high percentage of relapse after remission. Lolo was in that high percentage that relapsed. She had a less than 10 percent chance to survive AML the second time. It was at this time that Mrs. Hacker thought to herself, I need to do something.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia is a less researched cancer compared to most other cancers like breast, lung, and skin, despite how dangerous AML is. Mrs. Hacker wanted that to change. While Lolo was in the hospital Mrs. Hacker said, “If she can survive this, I promise that I will do something.” The little research project and fundraiser she had originally in mind grew into something greater.
Through lots of great connections, the non-profit organization, Lolo’s Angels, took off. This association is a small drop in a huge bucket of other organizations like this to help fund pediatric cancer research. In Lolo’s Angels, there is an adult and junior board that helps with the awareness and fundraising for this organization. The fundraisers consist of Oktoberfest, Search for the Cure Scavenger Hunt, the annual toy drive, and the Summer Blast dance party. Lolo’s Angels also sponsors blood and bone marrow drives.
During September, which is pediatric cancer awareness month, this group posted a new story about a child who is fighting, survived, or passed away from pediatric cancer. Lolo’s Angels gives statistics and lots of information regarding this type of cancer. Lolo’s Angels also holds a pediatric cancer awareness rally which talks about different types of cancer and different statistics. One day out of the pediatric cancer awareness month, the junior board gathers at the green overpass across Dodge connecting Memorial Park and the Dundee neighborhood. They hold different signs that are spreading awareness about this less known cancer. “Awareness is important because it helps people find the resource to get help and it just makes people stop and think about it a little more,” Mrs. Hacker said.
The official story about Lolo’s Angel’s logo starts with the first time Lolo was in the hospital. It was during January after it just snowed. Lolo was cooped up in her hospital room at Children’s on 80th and Dodge, but as she looked outside her window, all her friends and classmates were outside making snow angels on the ground. This showed immense support and love from Lolo’s friends and helped her through the treatments. Lauren, who graduated from Marian in 2020 and is now at Creighton, said she doesn’t want the focus to be on her, so that’s why the logo is about the people who came to support her.
This organization is very close to its goal of $100,000 that they are going to donate to pediatric cancer research. Mrs. Hacker said, “I never thought that we would do as much as we did.” This non-profit began as a small idea in a hospital to a nationwide organization helping to raise money for high-risk pediatric cancer, run blood and bone marrow drives, and support and raise awareness for all pediatric cancers.
On July second, 2021 Lauren Hacker will be considered cancer-free if her body continues to fight. This date will mark nine years after her original diagnosis. Look out for fundraisers and events from Lolo’s Angels. Mrs. Hacker has asked us to continue praying for Lauren and all the other kids who are fighting, have fought, or survived the battle of cancer.