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Daily Herald (Des Plaines) 12/1/05

In honor of their loved one, family fights for a cure
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald Correspondent
Posted Thursday, December 01, 2005

Less than six months after Des Plaines native Lori Arquilla Andersen lost her battle with brain cancer, her family is carrying out her wish to raise awareness about brain tumors — and money to find a cure.

Consequently, they are holding the first annual Gray Tie Ball — gray being the color of brain cancer awareness — which offers dinner, dancing, a silent auction and live entertainment, all starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Casa Royale Banquets in Des Plaines.

Andersen was 33 and married for only three months when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, known as stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme.

Growing up in Des Plaines, Andersen attended St. Zachary Elementary School, Forest View High School in Arlington Heights before it closed and ultimately graduated from Elk Grove High School in 1985.

She survived 22 months to the day after the first of five surgeries, but died on July 5.

The acronym taken from the name of her foundation, LAAF, plays into the organization’s tag line, which reads: “live, love, laaf.”

“It’s been very therapeutic to do this,” said Andersen’s mother, Linda Magiera of Des Plaines. “It’s helping with the grieving process, we’re able to make something positive out of our loss.”

Family members are driven by statistics that say more than 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a primary or metastatic brain tumor each year.

They have earmarked all proceeds from the ball for the Brain Tumor Research Fund at Northwestern University as well as the American Brain Tumor Association based in Des Plaines and the Lori Arquilla Andersen Foundation.

“We’re trying to fill a critical need,” Magiera said, “by assisting in an area of cancer research that is currently under funded.”

Dr. Jeffrey Raizer will speak at the event. He heads the Brain Tumor Research Fund at Northwestern University and is director of the Medical Neuro-Oncology program at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

His presence, and the chance to donate to local organizations that fund research grants, is drawing families to the event who have loved ones battling all types of cancer, Magiera said.

Tickets are between $80 to $100 and are available through the Lori Arquilla Andersen Foundation at (847) 561-1199.

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