New Lolo’s Angels president, senior Aya Khayati leads awareness rally

Aya Khayati stands in front of Marian in her Lolo’s Angels’ quarter-zip. Photo by KyraMcFadden

More than 16,000 children each year are diagnosed with pediatric cancer, and one in five children do not survive their fight, according to Pediatric cancer is one of the most under-funded areas of research regarding cancer.

Lolo’s Angel’s is a non-profit organization that strives to fundraise money, raise awareness, and hold blood, bone marrow, and toy drives specifically for pediatric cancer. Lolo’s Angels also supports families who are experiencing pediatric cancer.

Lolo’s Angels came to be when Marian student Lauren (Lolo) Hacker ‘20 was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). During her fight, her mom, Mrs. LesLee Hacker realized how under-funded pediatric cancer is. She created Lolo’s Angels to provide awareness and donations for pediatric cancer, and named the organization after Lolo’s classmates created snow angels outside of her hospital room.

Senior Aya Khayati is the new president of the Lolo’s Angels Junior Board for the 2022-2023 school year. In the previous years, students from Duschene and other schools were the president. Khayati first joined Lolo’s Angels during her freshman year. She was drawn to Lolo’s Angels because of her “passion for helping the community” and her interest in the non profit organization “that has made such an incredible impact.”

As a freshman, Khayati was approached by Mrs. Hacker and Ms. Halli Tripe, the director of the Junior Board, to join the Junior Board. Khayati became an official member of the board her sophomore
year, and then during her junior year, she became a Junior Board Officer.

Tripe and Mrs. Hacker chose Khayati because “she was really involved. She had good leadership, showed up to things, and she was willing to do the hard stuff.” Hacker had nominated Khayati as leader and Khayati accepted.

“Being president is so important to me because there are so many things people in the community can do to make the lives of those suffering from pediatric cancer easier,” Khayati said. “I accepted the president position because I enjoy being hands on and helping others is something I truly love doing.”

On Sept. 11, Lolo’s Angels and the Junior Board members held their annual September Awareness Rally at the pedestrian bridge near Memorial Park. The rally brings light to Lolo’s Angels’ cause, and many of those who drive or walk by are able to receive more information about the organization. Khayati mentions, “The rally helps so much because people aren’t aware of pediatric cancer and how prevalent it is.”

The Junior Board members who attend also get first-hand experience with spreading awareness by holding up signs with pediatric cancer facts. The Junior Board consists of 55 members, from all different schools, who are student spokespeople and fundraise for the organization. They meet every second Sunday of the month to discuss their next course of action.

October 16, Lolo’s Angels is holding a ‘Boo to Cancer October Fun Day’ for local Omaha kids who have battled pediatric cancer or are battling it. Junior Board members who attend will wear animal ears for a cute animal costume party. Kids will be able to paint pumpkins, decorate cookies, go in the bounce house, and get their faces painted. This event will help children with cancer experience a normalcy out of the hospital. It will also help children who overcame cancer connect with others who haveexperienced similar things.

To support Lolo’s Angels, those interested can support their fundraisers, visit their website or social media, sign up for Lolo’s Angels Junior Board in May each year, or support Lolo’s Angels toy drive in December. All high schoolers in Omaha are encouraged to become a member of the Junior Board.

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