Lauren's Fight for a Fearless Future
I hope this week’s edition finds you well.
"The funny thing about teenagers is that very often the best of them, the most interesting and curious, are rather lousy high school students. They have other things on their minds than geeking out every single point on the AP U.S. history exam. They are very often readers, and preparation for elite-college admission does not allow one to be a reader; it's far too time consuming. These "lousy" students were often among my favourites, and I never feared that they were going to lose a chance at a great education because they didn't have the stuff of an "elite" admission. They themselves were smart. They didn't need some Ferrari of a college nudging them along the path to a great education; they were going to get one wherever they went."
FUNNY OF THE WEEK
TWEET OF THE WEEK
PUTTING WRITING ON A PEDESTAL
At a number of my schools this year we have had a big focus of putting writing on a pedestal, and providing authentic audiences and purposes for our students’ writing.
This has led to higher qualities of writing produced (and deeper learning), with students slowing down and being invested to revise and edit their writing to the best of their ability.
In this edition I’m highlighting the fantastic work of the staff and students at Woori Yallock PS.
Below you can see photos from a display at the local library which features writing from the author study unit recently completed. The display has been very popular, with many families and grandparents going in to the library to check out the student writing. The students have also been very excited to see their work on display.
The 3/4 team at WYPS took things a step further by publishing their writing on Google Sites. Below you can see the links.
Attached to each narrative is a Google form, so any feedback can be typed directly into the site. The students are super excited that other kids their age might read their work.
I would love it if you could find some time for your students (particularly grade 3/4) to provide some feedback to the published writing.
While you’re at it, ask your students if this is something they would like to do with their published writing. It would be amazing to get a community of students who are celebrating each other’s writing, as well as giving each other feedback.
LAUREN’S FIGHT FOR A FEARLESS FUTURE
In previous newsletters I have promoted particular fundraising causes. This week’s edition highlights a cause that is close to home for me.
BJ & Loz are in my social circle and are quality people. Please take the time to read the information below, and it would mean a lot if you could donate some money, and/or promote this gofundme as far as possible.
I’ve included all of the information from the gofundme site below.
Hello, my name is Cate and this year has been an extremely traumatic and distressing time in the life of my beautiful, generous, loving and incredibly vibrant friend, Lauren (Loz to those who know her). Her life has literally been turned upside down. I beg you to read this account of her heartbreaking Multiple Sclerosis journey.
In September 2021, Loz was struck down with what she thought was a severe migraine. Having not been affected by migraines in the past, she spent 7 long bedridden days in agonising pain and then her symptoms only became worse. Loz lost vision in her left eye, developed slurred speech, could not re-call the most basic of words and did not remember the names of people or places she knew well. She lost her balance and all of the strength in her left arm. She could not even pick up her beautiful babies (Leni, 3 and Franklin, only 11 months old).
Frightened and alone, Lauren spent the next 2 weeks in hospital, unable to see anyone, including her young children and loving husband Brendon.
This was an incredibly scary time for this young family of 4.
In the 5 months following her hospitalisation, she underwent 2 lumber punctures, 3 CT scans, 4 MRI’s and 10 blood tests to try and find the cause of this vicious attack.
On the 23rd of March 2022, Loz was formally and devastatingly diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Since her diagnosis, her lesions have multiplied at a rapid rate and new symptoms continue to appear on a regular basis.
Loz is young. She endures daily severe symptoms, grapples with what used to be simple daily tasks and struggles with anxiety and worry about her future living with this rapidly progressing disease. Receiving and attempting to process the diagnosis of MS has been devastating. Loz and Brendon are understandably terrified.
The Cure for MS
There is no cure. In Australia, with varying outcomes, there are treatments that aim to slow the progression of the disease, but there is no cure and even with these treatments, her MS will continue to progress. In a currently unknown timeframe, her body will deteriorate; her mobility, along with her sight and speech, will become more impaired. We can only imagine what the future holds for her and her young family.
Treatment to stop the progression of MS
Loz has spent endless hours researching and speaking to many people about MS. This culminated in her applying and thankfully being accepted for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) in Mexico.
While HSCT has been expanding in the last decade, it’s still only in the trial phase in Australia, so she must leave the country to have any chance of halting her disease. She will spend 28 days under the care of well-trained and well-respected Haematologists and Neurologists at a dedicated clinic in Monterrey. This clinic has successfully helped over 3000 patients to HALT their MS.
For the type of MS Loz has (RRMS), Mexico has an impressive 80-90% success rate in HALTING MS in its tracks.
HSCT works by taking and storing stem cells from her blood, blasting her body with chemotherapy to kill off the immune system before reinfusing the stem cells to build a new immune system, free from the memory of MS. The aim of wiping out and rebooting Loz’s immune system is to halt disease progression and prevent further relapses or attacks.
Loz understands the risks involved. However, in her desperate search for answers, she has spoken to medical professionals in Melbourne and many people who have had HSCT with remarkable results. She has heard many first-hand stories of their MS being either halted or partially reversed.
My brave and amazing friend Loz will need to leave her two young children and husband for 28+ days to undergo HSCT. She must have $100,000+ to pay for the treatment, outpatient accommodation and return flights. She is required to take a personal carer with her and will need to hire an experienced Registered Nurse, organised by the clinic, to support her through her gruelling treatment.
The point of the personal carer is to provide around-the-clock care and support and help her make the long journey back home to Australia.
Loz is prepared to take the risk, and with an 80-90% success rate, the odds are definitely in her favour. She is hanging on to the vision of once again being able to see a future where she’s a strong, vibrant and healthy mum for her two children, a loving wife to Brendon and thoughtful, caring, generous and supportive friend & family member to all of her treasured loved ones. She wants to play an active role in all of our lives and live her life as any young mother should.
My Heartfelt Plea and Hope
Loz never asks for help; she is always the first person to step forward & help others, providing any support they may require. I want you to know just how amazing my gorgeous friend Loz is, she truly is a beautiful soul & this time, it is her turn to receive the help and support she continuously provides to others.
If you are able, please find it in your hearts to help Loz get to Mexico for this life-changing treatment. Please help her to once again live a life where she doesn’t have to fear what each new day may bring & where she can be the vibrant mother, wife and friend she was before her life changed so drastically overnight.
Whether you are able to donate or not, please share this link with as many people on as many platforms as you possibly can to share her story.
If we are lucky enough to exceed the necessary target or have any funds left over Loz will be donating those funds to others in the same position as her.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for reading and sharing Loz’s story - for her, her family, her friends, her quality of life moving forward & her mission to make this a much easier process for others suffering with MS.
Thank you so very much, you’re help is so greatly appreciated and will make all the difference in the world,
To make sure the newsletter lands in your inbox, I’d really appreciate it if you could add my email address to your contacts. Another option is to reply to this email with ‘Hi’, or a personal message.
Thanks for reading and see you next week, Danny. P.S Feel free to provide me with any feedback regarding the newsletter, or anything for that matter via email.
If you would like to check out previous editions, you can access them here.
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