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Mike Riehls

Community rallies behind young cancer patient


July 04, 2013
She gives back to other ill children

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Loch loves volleyball and has played since fifth grade. It is rare for she to miss volleyball, so when she skipped practice one day to go to the doctor because a lump under her arm was causing pain and preventing her from lifting her arm, there was cause for concern.

Loch was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in February, and her family was overwhelmed and scared. But with their faith, Loch’s hope and courage, and support from family, friends and the community, the Lochs have been uplifted. She is a member of Omni Volleyball Club, and when club members offered to hold a fundraiser to help with medical expenses, her family was touched.

The Lochs, however, have good medical insurance and didn’t need financial assistance. So they asked if the fundraiser could benefit the Meade Pediatric Hematology Oncology Center in the Van Elslander Cancer Center at St. John Hospital and Medical Center, where Loch is being treated.

“It was Lucy who wanted to take all the money raised and give back to other patients at the Meade Center,” said David Loch, Loch’s father, who is a captain with the Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Department.

“Our family has seen firsthand the many challenges a cancer diagnosis can present. Cancer attacks all facets of your life: physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially.”

Kristen LaMagno, of Omni Volleyball Club, spearheaded plans for the “I Love Lucy” Volleyball Tournament, held May 15 at Brownell Middle School in Grosse Pointe Farms.

“We wanted Lucy and her family to know we were all behind them; this was a small way to show our support,” LaMagno said.

Teams of all skill levels played in honor of Loch, and hundreds of spectators came out. Hadi Sawaf M.D. one of Loch’s physicians at Meade Center and Chief of Pediatric Hematology Oncology for St. John Providence Health System, and many of his staff attended. The tournament raised nearly $24,000 through donations at the door, a silent auction and refreshment sales. Local businesses also supported the event and donated auction items.

“We knew the community would be supportive, but when the proceeds amount kept going up, I was overcome,” La- Magno said. “This is a testament not only to our great community but to the Lochs, who have clearly touched many with their goodness.”

“Our family has been blessed in so many ways during Lucy’s fight with cancer,” said Katie Loch, Loch’s mother and Harper Hospital nurse. “Our wish is to utilize the event funds to assist other families with financial needs related to their fight with cancer — medical bills, prescriptions and co-pays that can cause unforeseen hardship. We can’t think of a better way to keep the ‘I Love Lucy’ spirit alive.”

“What started out as a small fundraiser in honor of Lucy took on a life of its own,” she said. “We are amazed at the community’s support, which helped turn a frightening situation into a journey of hope.”

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