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Lori Hope, cancer patient advocate, dies
Type: 
Press Coverage about me

Lori Hope, a documentary film producer and author who wrote and spoke about how to communicate sensitively with people with cancer or other traumatic illnesses, died Sept. 27 at her home in Oakland. She was 58.

Ms. Hope was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002 and, by focusing on patient advocacy, quickly became the public face for the disease that ultimately killed her. Her book, Help Me Live: 20 Things People With Cancer Want You to Know, was published in 2005, and a revised edition came out last year.

Among her goals was to reduce the stigma of lung cancer and to increase awareness of the need for more funding for research. When she was diagnosed, the cancer was in its early stages and she underwent surgery, but in the summer of 2011, she suffered a recurrence. In April, she learned it was in the most advanced stage.

"When I was growing up, our school grades went from one to four, four being the best, like an A," Ms. Hope wrote in her blog, What Helps. What Hurts. What Heals. "Can I pretend that's what Stage 4 cancer means?"

Ms. Hope used humor and compassion, and one of her essential messages to friends, family and strangers was that it's OK to say or do the wrong thing: "Everyone does, at one time or another. Just, please, be there for us. We will be more grateful than we can say."

"When speaking about her work, Lori liked to quote Edith Wharton: 'There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it,' " said her son, Brett Hardy Blake of Chicago. "By sharing the experiences of others and bringing her own incredible warmth to everything she did, Lori was one of the very few who are able to be both."

Her husband, David Blake, said Ms. Hope had a way of taking both people and animals under her wing. Her dogs were a tremendous source of comfort, he said.

"Throughout her life, she liked to rescue strays," Blake said. "Sometimes I like to think about how we're all strays," he said. "She swooped in ... and rescued all of us."

Ms. Hope was born Lori Hope Crasilneck but took her middle name as her last. She was raised in St. Louis and graduated from Washington University with a philosophy degree.

After working as a staff producer for the NBC affiliate in Portland, Ore., she moved in 1993 to the Bay Area, where she worked as a freelance writer, public affairs consultant and editor. She was a managing editor of Bay Area Business Woman magazine and served for 15 years as a media consultant for Give Something Back, an Oakland office supply company that donates its profits to local nonprofits.

"She was a highly talented and accomplished writer and publicist. We could not afford somebody like her, but she was willing to work for us out of her commitment for the cause we shared," said Mike Hannigan, Give Something Back's president, referring to her passion for helping others. "We got an unbelievable deal with Lori. ... She will be missed."

Ms. Hope earned dozens of awards throughout her journalism career, including two regional Emmys, a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and a National Associated Press Broadcasting Award.

In addition to her husband and son, Ms. Hope is survived by her stepmother, Judith Leonard of St. Louis; and her brother, Ron, and his wife, Suzy Crasilneck, of Eugene, Ore.

No funeral services are planned. Donations in her name may be made to the Beverly Fund, a San Francisco patient advocacy group that supports lung cancer awareness and education. To donate, go to www.beverlyfund.org/lorihope.html.

Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle
Date: 
Oct.10.2012
Interviewer: 
Victoria Colliver