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Gray Tie Ball
Lori Arquilla Andersen Benefit Dec. 1

Journal Reporter

The Lori Arquilla Andersen Foundation (LAAF) will be holding the second annual Gray Tie Ball on Friday, Dec. 1, from 7 p.m. to midnight., at Casa Royale Banquets in downtown Des Plaines, to raise public awareness and funds for research to find a cure for brain cancer.

Lori Arquilla Anderson, who was born and later died in Des Plaines, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme stage 4) at the age of 33, just three months after marrying. She died 22 months later.

"We're trying to get the awareness out there. We're just a small organization that started up last year," said Linda Magiera, Arquilla Andersen's mother, and president and founder of the foundation.

"It's the most aggressive brain cancer there is, and it can happen to anybody. It just pops out of nowhere," Magiera said of her daughter's illness. "They don't know what causes it, they're researching, trying to figure it out.

The ball will feature dinner, dancing, a silent auction, and live entertainment, and proceeds will go to the Brain Tumor Research Fund at Northwestern University.

Magiera said the purpose of the ball is not only to raise awareness, but also to "make sense of what happened, to turn something awful into something good."

Her daughter first noticed something was wrong when she was trying to read something at work, and couldn't connect what was on the paper to her brain. Initially, doctors thought it was just migraines, but after getting a second opinion, Arquilla Andersen found out it was brain cancer. Even with an early diagnosis, the cancer couldn't be stopped, but it gave her 22 more months of a fairly good quality of life.

Since then, Magiera has been working to get more research done on brain cancer. She said, because there are fewer people affected by it than more common forms of cancer, such as breast cancer, it doesn't get as much attention.

Last May, Magiera went to Washington, D.C. with the North American Brain Tumor Coalition to meet with congressional leaders to discuss the disease. She brought along proclamations declaring the first week in May as Brain Tumor Action Week, signed by Des Plaines Mayor Tony Arredia, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

She also met personally with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama to discuss brain cancer research.

LAAF has also worked with the American Brain Tumor Association in Des Plaines, which works on doctor and patient education.

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