Lolo (Lauren) Hacker was a happy and active 10-year-old when she was diagnosed with pediatric Acute Myelocytic Leukemia (AML) on Dec. 12, 2012. The doctors gave Lolo about a 55% chance of survival. Her mom, LesLee, recalls receiving Lolo’s diagnosis and how their family’s world changed in an instant.
“I walked out of my job the day Lolo was diagnosed,” said LesLee. “The stress of her illness, plus the expenses was unimaginable.”
They spent the next year in and out of the intensive care unit and aggressive treatments until she was considered to be in remission. Unfortunately, three years later, their worst nightmare became a reality when they learned her cancer had returned. This time, Lolo had less than a 10% chance to survive.
A silver lining
Two years prior to Lolo’s initial diagnosis, their family had the option to choose between TriCare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) insurance. They opted for BCBSNE.
“I am indebted to BCBSNE because, when you think about all those medical bills, we could have lost our home on top of everything. I have stayed out of work all these years to help Lolo recover and run our organization, Lolo’s Angels, to fund pediatric cancer research and treatment.”
The road to recovery
For Lolo, frequent trips to the hospital became her new normal. LesLee recalls medical bills piling up to $4.5 million dollars before insurance coverage.
After several more rounds of chemotherapy and countless months at the hospital, Lolo beat AML for the second time!
This summer, Lauren celebrated five years in remission. She’s in school at Creighton University to become a pediatric oncology nurse.
“People don’t think about health care and insurance until it’s the difference between being completely devastated and able to move on with your life. I am so thankful for Lauren’s restored health and that bills are paid and we’re able to get back to our life.”
Lolo’s story is just one of many. What’s yours? You’re invited to share at NebraskaBlue.com/YourStory