A Mother’s Wish: Remember Lori. Support Barrow.

A Mother’s Wish: Remember Lori. Support Barrow.

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No mother should lose a child to brain cancer.

Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

This Mother’s Day, Mary Lawton has a special request, and she needs your help. Nearly 13 years ago, brain cancer took her daughter Lori’s life. A terrifying seizure was the first and only sign that Lori had a brain tumor. She was just 36 years old. Her daughter, Danielle, was only 3 years old and her son, Hunter, was just 18 months old.

“Lori was perfectly healthy” says Mary. “She worked out at the gym early in the morning before the children woke up and before a full day’s work in Human Resources for Ernst & Young. Lori loved living life in a very active way.”

When Mary heard Lori was in the emergency room, she jumped on the first flight to Chicago to be with her and her family. Lori was diagnosed with an oliogodendroglioma brain tumor, a fast-growing brain cancer that can become resistant to chemotherapy and radiation. She needed surgery as soon as possible.

Lori’s brother, Michael Lawton, is a skilled neurosurgeon and he immediately traveled to be with his sister and mother. A highly respected colleague performed the surgery, but Dr. Lawton was asked to scrub into the operating room when her doctors needed his expert opinion.

As she went into surgery, “Lori asked me to take care of her babies if anything happened to her”, Mary remembers with a trembling voice.

Lori made an amazing recovery after the serious brain surgery. She got back to working out faithfully at the gym, volunteering at the children’s school, riding horses, and spending time with family and friends.  All the while, Lori was undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and complementary treatments to keep her cancer from progressing. For more than seven years, Lori lived life to the fullest with her husband, Christopher, as she battled her brain tumor.

Lori with family

When the cancer advanced as it often does, Mary helped Lori realize some of her “Bucket List” items. They went race car driving; they went to plays; they lunched at her favorite restaurants; they enjoyed every park in the area. They went horseback riding one last time on the day Lori was admitted to the nursing facility and never returned home.

Since Lori passed away. Mary has been searching to find just the right way to honor Lori’s memory. This Mother’s Day, Mary is creating a memorial for Lori in partnership with the Barrow Neurological Foundation. Mary is making a gift to Barrow with the hope that other families will not lose a loved one like she did. A gift in memory of Lori and in support of her son, Dr. Michael Lawton, the President and CEO of Barrow Neurological Institute and founder of the Barrow Aneurysm and Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) Research Center.

This Mother’s Day, Mary Lawton will be matching gifts up to $100,000 made to the Ivy Brain Tumor Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute, where groundbreaking research is seeking a cure for brain cancer, and to the Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center, where Dr. Lawton is exploring new treatments and a cure for aneurysms and AVMs.

Please join Mary in improving the lives of patients through innovative research, so no other family will lose a loved one to brain cancer.

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