Life can change in a matter of moments. For the Felzer family, it took only 72 hours. 

When Lauren Felzer started experiencing knee pain, then a sudden lump on her leg appeared, her family took her to the doctor. Within three days, Lauren and her family were traveling to Charlotte, NC, to meet with Atrium Health oncologists, Drs. Erin Trovillion and Joshua Patt. Unfortunately, tests confirmed the news no family wants to hear. Lauren had stage 3 Ewing’s sarcoma – a rare, highly metastatic cancer that occurs primarily in the bone or soft tissue.

“As a family, we were terrified by the news,” said Lauren’s mother, Sara. “Everything was happening so quickly – you do not have time to process the information that you are being given.”

Lauren underwent surgery to have her left knee and a large portion of her femur replaced. Now she’s halfway through her chemotherapy treatment. “Our experience with Levine Children’s has been outstanding,” said Sara. “They understand the emotions that the families are feeling and they jump in with knowledge and empathy. We love this staff like family. I can not say enough about how wonderful our experience has been.”

Lauren with sister Gracie, mom Sara, and dad Paul.

While it’s been an incredibly tough and overwhelming journey for Lauren’s family, they want to remind others who are facing similar battles to “keep going, take things day by day, and to focus on the finish line.” In fact, Lauren has a “Chemo Countdown” in her kitchen to keep track of how many days and rounds of treatment she has left.

“Soon she will be done with treatment, back at school with her friends, and back to her normal life,” said Sara. “There is finally light at the end of the tunnel for the entire family.” 

Lauren’s courage and strength embody the meaning of the Carolina Panthers’ mantra, ‘Keep Pounding.’ On June 22, community members are invited to participate in the annual Keep Pounding 5K in support of patients like her. The event, now 14 years strong, raises critical funds for cancer research and patient programs at Atrium Health Levine Children’s and Atrium Health Levine Cancer.