One of Lauren Lopriore’s best ideas was devised in a forest preserve.
The breast cancer thriver had been sharing details of her cancer journey on her website, Liv & Let, for a couple of years. Though she describes herself as “not a writer by any means,” she found the process therapeutic and important. This blog and information hub not only allowed her to highlight all of the nitty-gritty nuances that come with a diagnosis and resources to cope with them, but it also ended up serving as the launchpad for her one-stop shop for warriors and supporters: Giv by Liv & Let.
Lopriore’s vision behind Giv is one of hope and love. While deep in conversation with her husband on a bench in a Chicago suburb forest, she came to the realization that she could help other warriors receive the support she feels she didn’t have access to while going through treatment.
“A lot of my friends and family came around when they could, but I think it scared them, and they really didn’t know how to be around me,” Lopriore shares. “I just felt like there were probably other survivors out there like me, and I wanted to be able to provide resources and events and product recommendations to women that may not have had the resources.”
In September of 2014, Lopriore was diagnosed with stage III triple positive invasive ductal carcinoma. From there, it was tunnel vision as her main focus became just getting through the next year. Additional information on cancer support groups was occasionally offered to her, but she was so overwhelmed with appointments and treatment that she admits most of it went in one ear and out the other.
She also found that the support groups being offered to her weren’t resonating with her situation. They were more generalized, and she felt attendees veered older than her age of 29.
“Being a young adult survivor, I think the support that I needed was a little bit different,” Lopriore says.
Now, Giv is utilized as an outlet for all the recommendations and suggestions Lopriore wishes she’d gotten from someone in order to make each day of treatment more manageable through care and comfort.
Cancer was a taboo subject in Lopriore’s family while she was growing up. After her diagnosis, she discovered she was BRCA positive, and it wasn’t until her first oncology appointment that her aunt began talking with her about Lopriore’s grandmother’s battle with breast cancer decades ago.
Lopriore hopes that Liv & Let and the Giv shop and crates can serve as a vehicle for families to chat more openly about cancer. And for those moments when family and friends can’t find the right words, Giv’s product selection and personalized caring crates can do some of the talking.
The item selection process for Giv is a meticulous one filled with incredible thought and introspection for Lopriore. A natural gift giver, she applies her benevolent nature to the curation of the shop and crates while keeping in mind her own cancer journey experience.
Each personalized crate Lopriore puts together has between two and three hand-selected items that are both of personal interest to the recipient and good for them. She also makes an extra effort to find woman-owned and warrior-owned shops and items for included products. From head wraps and chemotherapy fleeces to seatbelt support and dosage reminder systems, each item chosen is something a warrior can truly use.
The process certainly isn’t the quickest or easiest system to maintain as a one-person team. Lopriore responds to requests, researches new items and assembles crates for a few hours every day while her daughter is at school or napping. “Thank goodness for preschool,” she laughs. But for Lopriore, who thrives through one-on-one relationships and giving her time to help others, it’s worth it.
“This is the first job that I have ever had where I have not been stressed out at night and I truly enjoy it because it allows me to give back,” she says. “It allows for me to use my creative juices and personalize and really give back to each individual.”
Recently hitting her five-year remission mark, Lopriore is looking forward to a thriving future both for herself and for Liv & Let and Giv by Liv & Let. Since its inception, Giv has provided about 50 crates to warriors, thrivers and caregivers. It has also donated one crate a month to various organizations benefiting the cancer community.
The project is currently for profit, but it’s Lopriore’s hope that within the next year or so nonprofit status becomes a reality in order to help more people discover resources and community.
“I think it’s really important to have resources and community to reach out to at any point especially if you’re surrounded by people who haven’t been through what you’ve been through,” Lopriore says. “Just being able to have a community of people who have been there and get what you’re going through I think is helpful in the healing process.”
To learn more about Lauren’s story and access her resources directory, visit livandlet.com. For curated items to help with the cancer journey, check out giv-liv-let.myshopify.com. If you’d like to send a personalized caring crate, visit livandlet.com/giv.