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article in Journal Times newspaper - Des Plaines


Family's True Inspiration
Gray Tie Ball To Help Fight Brain Cancer Here On Dec. 3

Journal Reporter

After working as a secretary, Lori Arquilla Andersen decided it wasn't what she wanted and proceeded to completely change the direction of her life. Her family hopes events held and money raised in her memory will change things for people who share her disease.

The first Gray Tie Ball to benefit brain cancer research will be held at Case Royale Banquets at 783 Lee St. in Des Plaines on Dec. 3, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event will include everything from dinner to dancing to live entertainment with a silent auction and an open bar.

Proceeds will go to the Lori Arquilla Andersen Foundation, the Brain Tumor Research Fund at Northwestern University and the American Brain Tumor Association in Des Plaines.

"She was such a vibrant person, and she was so alive," said Lori's mother, Linda Magiera. "It doesn't seem like it's real. Sometimes, I still can't believe she's not here.

"The way she handled it though, made everything better for the people around her. She was such an inspiration to use and to everyone she came in contact with."

Lori was diagnosed with stage 4 gioblastoma multiforme in 2003, just three months after marrying Erik Anderson. She survived 22 months after the first surgery, fighting the disease until her death on July 5. She was 35 years old.

Lori had returned to school at the University of Illinois-Chicago to study anthropology. Once finished, she went archaeological digs in Israel, Cypress and Kenya, among other places, before being diagnosed.

Lori's last days were spent surrounded by family, including a trip to Puerto Rico for a stay at a bed-and-breakfast near a rain forest.

Arquilla Andersen had been a member of the parish at St. Zachary from her graduation from the school.

In addition to her husband and mother, Lori is survived by grandparents Joe and Juanita Betchner of Des Plaines; siblings Lisa Arquilla Dodge of Jacksonville, Fla.; Ed Arquilla of Oak Lawn; Walt Magiera of Orlando; and Dan Magiera of Chicago, among many others whom she loved and cared for.

"I think it's helping us in our grieving that she was happy and she was doing what she wanted to do, because she'd worked so hard to get there," Linda said.

"They had a fairy-tale wedding. I just wish they could have had a fairy tale ending."

After writing a letter on Lori's fight with brain cancer that was published by the Chicago Sun-Times, Linda received a call from an employee of the paper whose family was also affected by brain cancer. Lori's battle through five surgeries against the disease was also chronicled on-line, and the family received support and was able to give support to others in that way.

The foundation, which is on-line at www.laafinc.org, is another way for Lori's family to help further the cause and grow a support network for those suffering with the disease. The event is called the Gray Tie Ball because Gray is the ribbon color for brain cancer.

"We wanted to do something for the people suffering from brain cancer and their families," Linda said. "We thought it would be a fun thing, and a way to remember her. Her birthday would have been Dec. 1, so we set it up close to that.

"We thought it would be a great way of supporting the cause and raising awareness. We just want to get the information out there and let people who are impacted by this know that there's somebody who's been through what they're going through."

A presentation will be made at the ball by Dr. Jeffrey Raizer, who is the Director of the Neuro-Oncology Program at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine.

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