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As the owner of a successful custom cake shop, Lori loves to craft cakes for the important moments in people’s lives.
From pirate ship-themed birthday cakes to multi-tiered wedding cakes to cakes shaped like a baby’s bottle, each cake Lori crafts takes patience and care. After all, the recipients of these cakes want them to highlight something special in their lives. But there was a time when Lori’s family worried whether she would experience her own such moments.
When Lori was 14 years old, doctors found she suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer. She underwent treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
A participant in beauty pageants, Lori didn’t blink an eye when she learned that she would lose her hair, her eyebrows and her eyelashes during two-and-a-half years of often harsh chemotherapy treatments.
“I just psyched myself up for it,” Lori said. “I looked at it like it was a pageant and I prepared for it.”
Lori continued participating in beauty pageants even while she was undergoing treatment. When she lost her hair, she wore a wig. When she lost her eyelashes, she wore fake ones.
Lori successfully completed treatment in November 1994. St. Jude has achieved a 94 percent survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer. And it was the hospitals groundbreaking development in the treatment of ALL that has revolutionized leukemia therapy worldwide.
Lori graduated from high school and majored in speech communications in college. In the intervening years, she’s celebrated many of her own special moments: marrying her husband, Brad; working for a time at ALSAC; having two beautiful daughters, Sydney and Reed. But after the birth of her second child, Lori realized that custom cake making was what she really wanted to do. She and her mother, Pam Reed, run their shop together.
The work is difficult, more so than people imagine. Lori and Pam are up early each morning with a long list of tasks that must be completed by the end of the day. “I can’t tell a bride I ran out of time,” Lori said. “We deal with a deadline every day. It’s challenging. There’s always pressure.” But it’s a job that Lori loves.
Since finishing treatment 18 years ago, Lori’s life is full of treasured moments. For this, she’s thankful to the doctors, nurses and researchers who helped to save her life.