Just Heather
#TeamLori and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pink Sweater

This is my cousin, Lori. Growing up next door, we spent most of our summers together — outside in one of our yards, playing sports, or swimming in our grandparents’ pool. We got on the bus together every morning. We played together every afternoon. We played outside on Saturdays. We had dinner together at our grandparents on Sundays. We frequently spent the night together.

And now, we fight cancer together.

Over the years, Lori and I have stayed in touch through text messaging, Facebook, and Instagram while she lived in Florida. It was hard to have someone that was such a part of my daily life living days away. Sure, we had our own families and lives, and I wouldn’t have seen her often even if she’d stayed in our hometown, but there’s just something about knowing your family is home that settles your heart.

She and her family had just decided to come home again when Lori was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was alone at the doctor’s office, finalizing the movie and waiting to join her husband in Indiana, when she learned of her diagnoses. Four days later, she was loaded up and on the road to Indiana.

I can’t imagine her going through this anywhere but home.

Her mom and dad are right there to help take care of her. Her brother can drive an hour to be with her during chemo. My mom can watch her kids during her treatments. Friends and family can bring meals or just give her a hug. Because she’s home — where her family can be a part of the fight.

Where people know her. Where things like #TeamLori become a community endeavor.

A few months ago, the family ordered pink Team Lori bracelets and began a campaign for those near and far to show their support for Lori. You guys, they gave me a prop and a hashtag. It’s like everything I’ve ever done was leading to this very moment. I might not be right there in our hometown to help, but I can make her smile with ridiculous pictures all over town.

#TeamLori at graduation. #TeamLori with blue hair. #TeamLori in the treetops. #TeamLori at the ball diamond. #TeamLori on tour has been my summer mission.

And then her son’s team blew every one of my pics out of the water. After winning the championship game, the boys all changed into pink #TeamLori t-shirts to surprise her. It brought us all to tears. I am so very grateful she has that kind of support in our hometown.

I hope she draws strength from every offer to help, even when she doesn’t accept it. I hope she sees each silly photo as a hug, even when I’m not around to give it. And, I hope she knows I would do anything to help her through this.

Lori is approaching the end of her chemotherapy, and things are looking really good so far. She looks amazing. Her doctors seem pleased. And, it seemed like the perfect time to participate in a fund-raising campaign in her honor.

I joined the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pink Sweater so I could share our story and raise money to truly help fight breast cancer. The recipient of the funds raised through the pink sweater project is Pink Ribbon Connection, a local organization that whose mission is to provide emotional support, local resources, and education to those touched by breast cancer across Indiana.

I couldn’t think of a more fitting organization. Support and resources right here at home? It’s exactly why I’m so glad Lori packed her own suitcase and moved to Indiana. I would love if you would join me in the sisterhood by making a donation to the Pink Ribbon Connection — in honor of my cousin or someone you love who is also fighting breast cancer.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pink Sweater project will continue through September 15th, and the fundraising results will be tallied. Please follow the pink sweater as its journey continues — my friend Katy from Indy With Kids has taken possession of the lovely vintage suitcase and will be blogging her own story soon.

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