I am Lori-Anne, I’m 53-year-old and 3 years a breast cancer warrior

I received my diagnosis on the 25/10/2018, during breast cancer awareness month,

stage 4, HER2 +, with liver metastasis. A hard pill to swallow, I lost my dad that Aug to lung cancer, my mom to pancreatic cancer and I knew that with stage 4, they treat you palliatively.  They keep you alive as along as possible. They treat you till the cancer outsmarts the treatment. A bleak and grim chance to become cancer free, but there was a 2% chance. I went for 7 mammograms in a row since the age of 40yrs.  Then my gynae and the medical aid protocol changed it to every 2nd year. Skipping one year resulted in this advance diagnosis.

With the WHO stats indicating that over 2 million women are diagnosed each year, breast cancer is the most common cancer among woman worldwide.  In SA according to the National Cancer Registry (2017) one in 26 women are at risk of developing breast cancer and it accounts for 16% of all cancer deaths.

I started treatment immediately and just 16 days in, after the first session of Chemotherapy, my hair started falling out

I needed something to adorn my bald head, make me feel confident and beautiful, especially during the 9 months of baldness

When you lose all your hair you can feel dull and de-sparkled. People take hair loss for granted, but on a mental health level it gets to you.  When you put on a hat, you make sure that you know the face that’s looking back at you is a face of value, a face you appreciate.

I heard that some patients chose to wear wigs and other head scarves. I found the scarves time consuming and a tedious process to master.

I fell in love with the idea and loved the way the hats made me feel. My hats made my day more colourful, gave me more sparkle, confidence, and hope.

I personally couldn’t find anything locally and. I decided to attempt making a hat with a friend.

 Hatsbylori, founded in December 2018 via WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. This is my journey and how my hats bring joy and hope to other fellow warriors. To create a community that supports and encourage people to live with intention, even if it’s a hat,

Double mastectomy and failed reconstruction attempt, 16 radiations and more fat grafting sessions, still to be continued, this year. I am living my lemonade journey, living my purpose and having a meaningful life full of blessings and joy. Some days good and other days bad.

After my mastectomy my Dr came to me and gave me the news that I had a complete pathological response. Which I found out later is the 2% that they told me about. Cancer free and having the outcome of a stage 1 Her2+ breast cancer patient is beyond belief. A medical unicorn she said.

I started a Facebook page to share my cancer journey with South Africans. Year after my diagnosis I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis which comes with its own challenges.

When I finished my treatment my sister came on board, HatsbyLori got a website and online shop patients who may need a beautiful handmade hat.

to streamline the process and give me more freedom to create and enjoy my life.

So far so amazing, my vulnerability and negative situation, has turned my chemo headwear business, HatsbyLori, into a sustainable business.

My aim:  when things are dark and it’s hard, I want every warrior to remember there’s pretty thing in the world.  Going by without intention in your day, is a day gone by without anything to show. Helping my fellow warriors to sparkle when things feel colourless and hard is how I live my life

My strong believe and my personal mission to educate woman on self-breast examinations and going for their mammograms.  According to the Adapted Screening Guidelines average risk woman should have a risk assessment by age of 30, with annual screening mammography started at the age of 40.

Because early detection of your breast cancer is the only protection to save your life.