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Thanks For Contributing To Lori's Healing Journey

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As the biopsy procedure unfolded, I watched Lori, lying on the hospital table. She had asked me to be there to support her through whatever the biopsy would reveal. As the doctor finished taking samples from the lump near her right collarbone, a single tear rolled down Lori’s left cheek.

For me, the moment symbolized someone who always has to stay strong, but who also needed someone to hold her hand. It was my privilege to be there for Lori.

My name is Nicolette Holferty, and I am founder of XOXO Hats for Strength, the Salt Lake City nonprofit hosting this fundraiser. I would like to introduce you to Lori Yearwood, a resilient overcomer who needs your financial support to fund life-saving medical treatments.
A little bit about why I feel so moved to help Lori: Since her emergence from her “home” on a slatted wood park bench on the outskirts of Salt Lake City six years ago, Lori has beat every seemingly insurmountable odd she has encountered. From 2016 to 2020, she used the rare combination of her professional skills as a journalist and life experiences as a once-unhoused woman, to rebuild her life as well as change the lives of others. Then between 2020 and 2021, she was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer. She overcame that. And she kept writing.

The result: Lori is now a housing crisis reporter via a fellowship at The Economic Hardship Reporting Project; her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, and in many other venues, including Stanford University, the Supportive Housing Network of New York.The Young Turks news show, and Yale University, where Lori was a 2022 fellow via the Poynter Institute in Journalism.

We were in awe as we watched her use her tenacity to do the impossible – escape the horror an experience of homelessness in which she was repeatedly stalked, abducted and sexually assaulated by an employee at the homeless shelter where she was staying.

In 2017, we witnessed Lori re-enter her career as a professional journalist, a position she has spent nearly 13 years of her life working in, seven of them at The Miami Herald. Lori worked through the false stereotypes projected against her. Then, in 2020, she wrote through her initial cancer diagnosis, penning a story for publication just two days after what the doctors called “a massive surgery.”

Last month, the doctor’s latest biopsy showed a recurrence of Stage IV ovarian cancer. It is aggressive.

Lori needs our help to renew her strength once again. Her doctors want her to start her treatment within the month.

And so I come to you with a great sense of urgency. Please help me raise the 45k Lori needs for her medical treatments, as well as provide her with the respite she will need after those treatments.

Her healthcare will be led by a team of doctors who have told Lori that she needs more assistance in her healing than chemotherapy this time around – she needs chemo accompanied by a specialized heat therapy that increases the efficacy of the chemo. She also needs immunotherapy, vitamin/mineral infusions, hyperbaric chamber treatments – and she needs all these things to happen simultaneously.

Even with all her various work, Lori qualifies as a low-wage earner. And unfortunately, many of these doctor-requested treatments are not covered by Lori’s very basic health insurance.

And yet it is exciting to know that as soon as she is able, Lori will once again continue working on her memoir; She is under contract with Frances Goldin Literary Agency in New York. Concurrently, she is also a fellow at the USC Annenberg Health Foundation, where she is working on an in-depth project about how increased trauma-awareness can save the lives of the unhoused.

“Lori is a truth seeker,” Hande Togrul told me. Togrul has known Lori since 2018, when Togrul, a teacher and social justice worker who has worked at The United Nations, helped to hire Lori at a Salt Lake City nonprofit. There, from approximately 2018-2019, Lori worked as the organization’s Creative Development Director.

Said Togrul: “When Lori says or writes something, it opens the floodgates for many others, too.”

To read more about Lori and her work, please visit Lori’s website:


Nicolette Bugger Holferty
Salt Lake City, UT
XOXO Hats For Strength

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