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Drake surprises cancer survivor with $100,000: 'I'm forever grateful'

One year after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Lauren Schwallier was surprised at one of the Grammy Award-winning artists' shows.
Drake surprises cancer survivor with $100,000: 'I'm forever grateful'
Posted at 2:51 PM, Feb 13, 2024

Tennessee resident Lauren Schwallier's yearlong battle against breast cancer has been a roller coaster of emotions.

Last year, two days before turning 33, Schwallier received a life-altering diagnosis that shifted her world. Initially she thought the lump was due to a hormonal cyst from breastfeeding. She soon started facing both physical and emotional challenges.

"Being exhausted, sleeping all the time, not being fully present – it's been tough," shared Schwallier, reflecting on moments that felt like hitting rock bottom.

Amid the hardships, Lauren decided to flip the switch on her outlook. She chronicled her journey on social media, sharing a video depicting her transformation from having no hair to proudly displaying a full head of hair.

For Schwallier, this became a beacon of positivity, a message of hope for others dealing with similar struggles.

She completed her last round of chemotherapy in January, which was a huge relief — and then Lauren faced another unexpected twist.

SEE MORE: Year in review: 23 positive headlines that brightened up 2023

While undergoing bone and CT scans on Feb. 7, a friend surprised her with tickets to a Drake concert in Nashville, knowing Lauren's love for music and concerts.

"Music is my favorite, and concerts are my happy place, so I was ready to go celebrate and have a good night. I saw him in 2018 and he puts on the best show. I was like, 'Next time he comes I’m going to be down on that floor,'" Schwallier explained.

During the concert, the Grammy-winning rapper addressed the crowd, encouraging them to take a moment to brighten someone else's day. Lauren then unveiled a sign that read, "Just finished chemo,' and on the other side, "no mo chemo." Strangers in the audience illuminated her sign with their cell phone lights, catching Drake's attention.

In response, Drake declared Schwallier a true soldier and surprised her with a generous gift: $100,000.

SEE MORE: New recommended age for breast cancer screenings

When Schwallier started her cancer journey, she didn’t know Drake's gift was a part of what she calls "God’s plan" — a reference to one of the artist's top songs.

"Without almost any hesitation, he was just so gracious, and it goes to show that God is working through him," said Schwallier.

Though she felt like she was starting from the bottom, Lauren is now here, using her journey to inspire others.

"Drake helping me really makes me want to give back more," she says, expressing her gratitude.

Lauren still can't believe one of her favorite artists helped her in this way.

"I’m forever grateful," she added.

Schwallier still faces potentially more surgeries and will have to take medication moving forward, but said she plans to use Drake's money to pay off medical debt, while putting some away for her two-year-old daughter.

Schwallier credits her husband, friends, and family from Michigan for giving her the strength to keep fighting.

This story was originally published by Aaron Cantrell at Scripps News Nashville.

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