12:12 2016 Meet Lauren


December 12, 2016

The many faces of Lauren Brown: daughter, sister, girlfriend, best friend. At 15, she was a beautiful sophomore in high school, a competitive cheerleader who had just made the varsity cheer squad, dreaming of college in far-away places and cheering on an all-girl squad. All of that changed on June 16, 2010, when she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, PNET, of the right pubic ramus. What followed was nine months of grueling chemotherapy that caused her to miss most of her junior year, also forcing her to drop her AP and language classes. She had a massive surgery to remove the tumor—along with a quarter of her pelvis—and replace her right hip, followed by 28 rounds of extensive radiation. Having to learn how to walk again, gone were her dreams of cheerleading—in high school or college—and of a university experience far away from home.

Almost six months No Evidence of Disease, she entered her senior year ready, yet again, to take on the world. She took a full load of classes, in order to graduate on time; got a part-time job in the drop-off daycare at IKEA; and also enrolled in six credit hours each semester at the local community college. In October of that year, her cancer returned. With no truly viable treatment for recurrent Ewing’s, her prognosis was less than a 15% chance of surviving two years; even her dream of graduating high school might be in jeopardy.

But Lauren persevered. She endured nine more months of chemo and additional radiation while staying in all of her classes—high school and community college—and keeping her part-time job. She graduated on time and with honors.

Lauren entered Texas A&M in the class of 2016. God clearly made this fighter to be an Aggie because she personified the core values of A&M: loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, respect, and selfless service. While her hair grew back during her freshman year, she continued to fight the lingering side effects of chemo, radiation, and surgery.  Undeterred, she joined a freshman leadership organization and excelled in her courses.

Her sophomore and junior years both began with recurrences of her metastatic cancer. She continued with classes while also traveling home for radiation treatments and, ultimately, travelling regularly to Miami and San Antonio to participate in clinical trials. Through all of this, she held down one, and sometimes two, part-time jobs on campus. Illness and treatment forced her to drop classes each semester. But, she took full loads most summer semesters to remain on track and, in the fall of 2015 received her Aggie Ring. Lauren was simultaneously pursuing two degrees: a bachelor of arts in International Studies with a focus in Commerce and a minor in French, and a bachelor of science in Applied Mathematics in Statistics and dreamed of a career in public service. When a university official explained that the second degree would add two years to her degree plan, Lauren responded, “I’ve been fighting cancer for four years, tell me something that is hard.”

The scientific journals, however, proclaimed her prognosis: recurrent metastatic Ewing’s Sarcoma is uniformly fatal. Due to the underfunding of Ewing’s Sarcoma research, there is just no treatment. Lauren’s dream of graduating from Texas A&M University is now gone; she gained her angel wings last Friday, December 9. Lauren always believed, however, she could beat Ewing’s Sarcoma. Please consider donating to the 12/12 campaign so that 1 Million 4 Anna can make Lauren’s final dream come true.


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