By Jared Misner
Lauren Moore's been through two rounds of chemotherapy and is now undergoing her third round, a 52-day aggressive treatment span that brings her back to the hospital every other weekend. She needs a bone marrow transplant for which none of her immediate family can provide a match. And Lauren's immune system is so weak she can't be around her peers.
Lauren is 2.
"She knows more words about doctors and health," Lauren's aunt Sarah Moore (3L) said. "She knows a stethoscope listens to hearts. She knows so many words from being in the hospital. She doesn't know any different."
Doctors diagnosed Lauren with a rare form of T-cell lymphoma after Lauren and her family were in New Smyrna Beach this summer. Family members noticed her lymph nodes were swollen and took her to the doctor. Doctors thought Lauren had an ear infection and prescribed her antibiotics.
No one suspected what was to come.
"It went from an ear infection to cancer in 11 days," Moore said.
Moore, one of the University of Florida Levin College of Law's John Marshall Bar Association's (JMBA) vice presidents, knew she had to do what she could.
Beginning in September, just about a month after doctors diagnosed her niece with cancer, Moore began raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's largest annual fundraiser, the Light the Night Walk, a brief walk illuminated by individual walkers carrying specific-colored balloons.
Moore and JMBA lit the night with red balloons.
Red balloons are reserved for those who are supporters of people with cancer.
By her last count, JMBA and her team had raised more than $12,500 for the society, largely through online donations, social media postings, in-class announcements and her dad, who matched all donations until Dec. 31.
Moore said she approached the other executive board members of JMBA to begin donating money to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society because she believes this organization does the most for lymphoma research.
And when protocol and research is so sparse for treating a 2-year-old with cancer, research becomes extra meaningful.
"My niece has already taken two research drugs the FDA just approved," Moore said. "The research they're doing is really going to save people's lives."
And while Moore is graduating this year, she hopes JMBA and the rest of the UF Law community continue to support the organization she hopes will save her niece.
"We get kind of wrapped up in what our lives are as law students," she said. "My niece getting sick has really given me perspective on what's important in life."
Those who wish to participate in 2012's Light the Night Walk should sign up online at http://www.lightthenight.org/register/.