Loren Jewell was 14 years old when she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma a type of bone cancer. She was told she may never walk again. After several rounds of chemotherapy, experimental trials, and a radical surgery that removed a large portion of her hip leaving her with a permanent limp, Loren beat the odds and was deemed cancer free and is now in remission. Loren did in fact walk again and she went on to run the Marine Corp. Marathon and become a Fairfax County firefighter.
Due to side effects of her treatments when she was a teenager, just last year Loren was diagnosed with a secondary cancer, a brain tumor that was impinging on her optic nerve and required brain surgery to remove. She was able to recover from that setback with the unwavering support of her fiancé, Billy LeDrew, and her 7-year-old daughter, Skylar, an upcoming 2nd grader at Greenville Elementary.
Loren won her cancer battle — a blessing that inspires her to volunteer with Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization organized exclusively to provide non-medical supportive care to children with cancer and their families. In addition to emotional support, Stillbrave
“Stillbrave will strive to help with the family bills and/or provide gas cards, grocery cards, and similar items. Oftentimes, Stillbrave volunteers will help with the house chores, yard work, home repairs, babysitting, and other tasks. Heartbreakingly, we also help pay for funerals,” Loren said.
Loren also heads up Stillbrave’s adolescent mentorship program where she provides emotional support and friendship to teenagers going through the same hardships she endured years ago. The mentorship program was developed to help other kids deal with all the stress and issues that arise during and post treatment.
“Being a teenager is tough. Now add being very ill, losing your hair, possibly deformities from surgery, time missed from school, loss of friends, hormone imbalances, infertility, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and the list goes on. I provide a support for these kids as they face the toughest battle of their life. I was told I would never walk again, never have kids, and be disabled. They can look at me and think ‘hey I can do this.’ They can make goals and plan for their future. I try and bring some light into the darkness they are facing.”