Chapel Hill Magazine May/June 2016

Page 52

The Women’s Issue

Lucy Steiner & Lauren Lux Co-founder of Be Loud! Sophie Foundation & the Adolescent and Young Adult Program Director at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center


Lucy lives in Chapel Hill with her husband Niklaus and daughters Elsa (a sophomore at UNC) and Annabel (a freshman at East Chapel Hill High). Lucy attended UNC as a member of the Morehead-Cain scholar class of 1988. She is a senior vice president at Public Impact and a founding member of the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation board of directors. Lucy’s favorite way to unwind is through yoga and Pilates at Giving Tree Wellness. Lauren earned her master’s in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago before moving to North Carolina. Be Loud! donates $100,000 annually to fund Lauren’s position and to support her patients’ needs. She and her husband, Daniel Norber, live in Durham with their 2-year-old daughter Jocelyn.

When the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation launched, Lucy wasn’t sure what to expect, but the mission was clear – to make a difference in the lives of teens and young adults with cancer. Before their daughter Sophie lost her brave battle in 2013, the Steiners identified a noticeable gap for young patients who were not yet adults, but had definitely grown beyond the ABCs and 123s of the pediatric unit. As donations continued to grow in Sophie’s honor, Lucy and her family worked with administrators like Don Rosenstein of the Comprehensive Cancer Support Program to create a unique, new staff position dedicated to helping adolescents and young adults (AYA) navigate their diagnoses and hospital stays without being defined by them. For Lucy, helping to imagine and create this new role was exciting. “In a few hospitals across the country, there are staff who have carved out part of their job description to take care of this subset of kids, but none fully dedicated to improving experiences and outcomes for AYA patients.” Bringing a social work degree and a talent for making things happen, Lauren started in October 2015 as the AYA Program Director at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her work with patients involves advocacy and access. She leveraged support from a design foundation to help patients shop for free, age-appropriate decor for their hospital rooms. She’ll soon begin to generate social events in the hospital’s teen center, funded by Be 50 May/June 2016

Loud! board members Eric and Laura Montross. Many of Lauren’s patients have individualized needs. One teen boy was avoiding his treatments out of embarrassment because he didn’t know how to swallow pills. Lauren convinced him he could do it, then showed him how. Her ability to step in and problemsolve eases a lot of anxiety, making a big impact on quality of life for her patients. Lauren also navigates hospital policy, establishing teen-friendly visitation hours and planning for fertilization preservation. Ultimately, Lauren’s goal is to keep AYA patients engaged in fighting their cancer, creating interest and opportunity in the clinical trials necessary to improve cancer outcomes for this age group. Lucy finds inspiration from Lauren’s ability to quickly connect with patients, identify their top needs and leverage support to help them feel empowered during their stay. “Every time I talk to Lauren, I’m struck by her decisions. Her instincts with patients are terrific,” Lucy says. Lauren loves her job and is overwhelmed by the connections and support provided by the entire Steiner family. She leaves meetings with Lucy energized and inspired to do more. “We have proven how important and impactful this work is in a very short amount of time,” Lauren says. “With ongoing support, there is so much more we can be doing to change outcomes for adolescents and young adults facing cancer.” – MP