Updated: February 24, 2020 10:43 PM
Created: February 24, 2020 10:39 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Lori Walker was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. One week before she was set to start chemotherapy infusion, she received a box in the mail from a stranger in Kansas.
"It meant the world to me because I was about to go into a super scary situation and someone that I didn't even know wrote me this card. Those words of encouragement just meant the world to me,” Lori said.
After receiving that package, Lori and her friend Britt McDonald decided they wanted to support breast cancer patients in their own way by starting a fundraiser to create “chemo bags”.
One year later, Lori’s friend Lisa found herself in a similar situation with her health.
"I was diagnosed in May of 2017 with breast cancer,” said Lisa Leyva. “I was 37 years old and I had a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old."
The day after Lisa was diagnosed she went to Lori’s to help fill chemo care bags for other cancer patients. She also left with one the same day.
"To receive a bag that has a blanket and it has water and it has hand sanitizer and more importantly it has a note from a survivor or just from somebody in the community that really cares about you that says you're going to get through this, and you're beautiful and it doesn't matter—it's going to be okay—is one of the most uplifting experiences,” Lisa said.
That’s why Lisa wanted to Pay it 4ward to her friend Lori.
“So because of how amazing you are and how selfless you have been with your chemo care bags and the lives that you have touched, we felt like this was a great opportunity to pay it forward and provide even more chemo care bags for women in our community,” Lisa said.
After recently losing her mother, Lori said her chemo bags are especially important this year.
"I also lost my mom to breast cancer and so I feel like this is my way of honoring her, which is why we call them Connie's Chemo Care Bags. My mom's name was Connie,” Lori said.
For the past three years, Lori has been increasing the amount of bags she gives out. This year she hopes to give away 175.
"Last year we hit like 143 and as an example they drop them off to UNM and Presbyterian. Seventy-seven in each place and that was dropped off in March. By November, Pres was calling asking for more cause that's how many women had already been diagnosed,” Lisa said. “So, it's just, they're so deserving. They're so selfless and to be able to pay it forward and sponsor eight more chemo care bags is just, means the world to me."
To donate to the fundraiser to help Lori and Britt make more chemo care bags, click here.
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