A Helping Hand: Lauren Hanrahan
ENGLEWOOD - Lauren Hanrahan teaches third grade at Englewood Elementary. She was on maternity leave and noticed her hearing was a little off.
“I wasn’t hearing sounds from different places; I didn’t know where they were coming from,” Hanrahan said.
She went to her ENT who ran some tests and suggested she get a MRI.
“They found a tumor," Hanrahan said. "Not only one, but another one in the opposite ear, which is a hallmark sign of NF2."
Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) is a rare, genetic disease Hanrahan says affects 1 in 33,000 people, and it still needs a lot of research.
“It's kind of like you’re up in the air; nobody really knows," she said.
She found she has three more tumors in her spine while working with doctors at Moffitt Cancer Center.
Her coworker Stephanie Ham says she wanted to help.
“She said, 'If I lose my hearing, I hope that the last sounds I hear are that of my babies,'" Ham said. "That was the moment I knew I had to do something.”
She was teaching her students about random acts of kindness at the time of Lauren’s diagnosis and did her own,creating a video to spread NF2 awareness.
“Now with the Facebook views, we’re at over 13,000," Ham said. "I've heard from people from Israel, Australia, Malaysia.."
Little did Lauren know she’d be getting another surprise: A Helping Hand from Carl Reynolds Law.
Stephanie and other friends working to spread awareness for NF2, wearing shirts Lauren designed.
“This whole thing has really turned into my mission now," Ham said.
To learn more about NF2 click here.