For Lani, meeting author brings closure to breast cancer battle

By | November 4, 2009

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Award-winning children’s book author Patricia Polacco, left, visits with St. Bernard School librarian Julie Lani at Butterfly Books in De Pere Nov. 2. Polacco’s book, “The Lemonade Club,” served as an inspiration for Lani in 2008 while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

While undergoing chemotherapy in early 2008, she read the book to St. Bernard students and they formed their own Lemonade Club.

The story of St. Bernard’s Lemonade Club was featured in the May 16, 2008, issue of The Compass.

When Lani learned that Polacco was coming to De Pere, she knew she had to meet her. With the permission of Butterfly Books owner Amy VandenPlas, Lani was able to give Polacco a copy of The Compass article. VandenPlas then introduced Lani to Polacco and the two spoke about the book and how it has been a source of strength for Lani and other people battling cancer.

“I told her, you don’t realize how you make an impact on peoples’ lives,” said Lani.

Later, Lani stood in line to have Polacco sign a copy of “The Lemonade Club” for St. Bernard School.

Lani said meeting Polacco brought closure to a challenging time in her life. Although she is cancer free, Lani is taking Tamoxifen daily to prevent a recurrence.

“You’ve made such an impact on my life,” Lani said as she thanked Polacco.

“This brings closure,” Lani told The Compass. “I can move on. I met the woman that inspired me.”

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