Lauren "Lolo" Hacker, Blood Recipient
Lolo was a happy and active 10 year old when she was diagnosed with pediatric Acute Myelocytic Leukemia (AML) on December 12, 2012. She spent the next six months at Children’s Hospital in Omaha, isolated from her classmates and critically ill. Lolo had a strong spirit, a wonderful medical team, and the constant support of her loving family. These factors, combined with many prayers, helped her leave the hospital in remission on June 4, 2013. She slowly regained her strength and was able to enter 6th grade in the fall at St. Margaret Mary School. Lolo was able to return to volleyball and worked very hard getting caught up in school. Each year she seemed to gain more strength and her family prayed that she would be cancer-free someday. However, they also knew that pediatric AML had a high rate of relapse, so they never took any time with Lolo for granted.
On the night of Lolo’s 14th birthday party, her family learned that her leukemia had returned after almost three years of remission. With her characteristic positive attitude and loving spirit, Lolo entered the hospital, once again, to fight for her life. This time, her leukemia had appeared as a myeloid sarcoma in her leg. After surgery on her leg and four months of intense chemotherapy and radiation, Lolo’s hope was to start high school as a freshman with her classmates. She was weak and immunocompromised, but she walked into the halls of Marian High School with her class, bald head held high as a two-time cancer survivor! Lolo’s connection to the many friends she has known since kindergarten are part of her driving force. Her last chemotherapy session was on July 2, 2016, and she left the hospital on July 25, 2016.
Cancer patients like Lolo often rely on the generosity of volunteer blood donors to help save and sustain their lives throughout treatment. Lolo received 36 units of blood and 39 units of platelets during her fight with leukemia, which her family hopes will now remain in remission forever. She will be considered cancer-free if she stays in remission until July 2, 2021. Lolo and her family look forward to celebrating that day.
Lolo is currently a senior at Omaha Marian High School. She plans to attend college and become a pediatric oncology nurse to help kids like her. In the meantime, Lolo helps kids with cancer in other ways: she serves as president of the Junior Board of Lolo’s Angels, Inc. and she recently interned at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in July 2019 under the guidance of her beloved researcher, Dr. Soheil Meshinchi. In her spare time, Lolo adores listening to Taylor Swift and hanging with her friends, her three dogs (Leila, Maddie, & Ruby), and her cats (Tutu & Willie Nelson).