An Illinois entrepreneur and cancer survivor has been warming hearts since announcing that she plans to lift some of the “physical, emotional and financial trauma” of cancer by throwing a wedding for a couple undergoing treatment.
Lori Eickhoff, who owns a business called London Avenue Designs in Rockford, Ill., describes in a Facebook post how she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, a malignancy of lining of the uterus or womb. For treatment, she had a full hysterectomy, which removed the contained cancer. But upon finding out that a coworker and bride-to-be, Laurel, had to postpone her May wedding after discovering she had the same kind of cancer, as well as ovarian cancer, Eickhoff wanted to help.
Further, she explained in her post, Laurel’s fiancee Dan, who had previously been in reemission, was also just re-diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Eickhoff wrote that she had a moment during her own recovery when she was angry about what was happening, but that she now has the chance to do something positive by supporting the couple through “the most difficult part of their lives.”
“I had this moment in the midst of recovery where I got mad, mad that this all was happening and mad that I couldn’t do anything to change or fix what was going on for myself or for anyone else at that point,” her post reads.“Then I remembered that I am one of the lucky ones, I am recovering well, and truly believe that even though life isn’t perfect we still have every chance to DO GOOD in the midst of any situation.”
She tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the bride is a relative of the business’s floral manager, and while she hasn’t personally had the chance to meet her, they have been able to email back and forth.
“I just started back at work part-time about two weeks ago so I wasn't able to sit down with her during my recovery,” Eickhoff says “...but very much know the battle of the surgery and can't imaging having to have chemo afterwards. Laurel is a fighter and I just wanted to help somehow.”
Eickhoff’s Facebook post details her plans to fund the wedding — now scheduled to take place in September — through a mix of personal donations and fundraising. While her business “is gifting the full floral order for the wedding,” and her husband, Matt, is “doing their wedding video at no cost,” she is also selling T-shirts, from which all proceeds will “go toward helping cover the cost of Laurel and Dan’s wedding so their entire family can celebrate them all together.”
The shirts went on sale Wednesday, and will continue to be sold for fundraising till September.
She tells Yahoo Lifestyle that her first stock of 75 T-shirts sold out the first morning they were available, and that she underestimated the community support she would garner. She’s now taking pre-orders for a new batch of 200 tees.
Eickhoff adds that she additionally sold $600 worth of flower bouquets and is “trying to funnel that money for the wedding” to “get a really good wig” for the bride, who expects to lose her hair and eyebrows before the wedding because of her chemotherapy.
The post immediately garnered support with people promising to pick up T-shirts and applauding her selfless decision.
“Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Cancer changes a person. You look at things different now. God isn’t finished with you yet. I know from experience myself. I will be praying for you, Laurel, and Dan. I will buy some shirts to support them,” one person wrote.
Another added, “Oh Lori, what a journey. How wonderful to pay it forward in this way. You can empathize deeply with them and your gift will mean so much. So grateful you are in remission and smiling bright!”
Facebook isn’t the only place Eickhoff has received support, and she says she’s had 6 local photographers volunteer to take photos, 3 bakeries offer to help out and a local production company said they’d provide a DJ, among others.
T-shirts can be purchased online through this Shopify link.
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