Lenora Lorenzo is an amazing person. The oldest of 12 children in a low-income family, she grew up as the second mother to her siblings, putting their needs ahead of her own for many years. Once she had her own family and my sister and I, she worked tirelessly to make sure we had a better life than she did, once again putting us first. She has been an incredible role model for us.
Her giving personality translated into her career as well, as she went into the nursing profession to provide quality care for her patients in the Wahiawa General emergency room, Haleiwa Family Health Center, Waikiki Health Center's Ho'olaLike clinic catering to native Hawaiians, and ending up her career at Tripler, the Veterans Hospital, in a extended stay program for Vets with PTSD. During her time working at these various careers, she continued her own education, earning a Masters degree and then a Doctorate of Nursing. All while taking excellent care of her family! It's like she never slept!
Going above and beyond in her career as well, she has fought for increased rights for Advanced Practice Nurses in Hawaii and across the globe through her participation and networking in various nursing organizations and politics. Because of her pioneering spirit and hard work, Nurse Practitioners enjoy increased respect, wages, prescriptive authority, and other benefits that they need to provide the best patient care possible.
Even in retirement she continued to work with nursing organizations such as AANP, HAPN, and global groups to keep moving forward, as she knows that Advanced Practice medical professionals are the way to fixing our broken health care system and providing the care people need.
In 2014 she was first diagnosed with Lung Cancer, a cruel surprise considering she hasn't smoked since the '70s, and has worked hard to stay healthy and fit throughout her life. Luckily she was able to fight it through chemotherapy and was cleared. However, it returned in Febuary 2017, causing her to go through another round of chemo and radiation this time. She was cleared yet again, but the radiation caused her to lose her voice - a big bummer when you're a super social Portuguese who loves 'talking story' like my mom! But it was worth it if she didn't have cancer anymore.
But again, at the end of 2017, the cancer reared its ugly head. Living in Hawaii, there aren't as many options available here to treat advanced cancer like hers, so she looked into other options. The City of Hope, a cancer treatment center in California, accepted her into a study for an experimental drug... which means she is now traveling between our home in Hawaii to get treatment in California every 2-3 weeks for up to two years.
Fighting cancer is not cheap. Even with health insurance through Kaiser, the savings accounts she worked so hard for all her life are being sucked dry by the cancer treatments, drugs, and her inability to work and add income. Now, with the added expense of flights for her and a caretaker, lodging, etc., we need some help.
All her life, my mom put other people first- her siblings, her husband and daughters, her patients, her fellow nurses. It's time for her to come first - we need her healthy so that she can enjoy her long awaited, well-earned retirement! Mahalo nui loa for your help.