Lauren Smoke, Mama Warrior

Have you ever met someone and felt positive energy simply radiate from him or her? I’m lucky to say that I have. And the craziest part? This amazing person was a ray of sunshine even while battling breast cancer…and chasing after a squirrely baby. Talk about mom goals right there.

Photo by TK Photography

For those of you who don’t know, I am talking about Lauren Smoke…better known across Chicagoland as “Miss Lauren.” She was one of, if not THE, most popular preschool teachers and entertainers in the city and suburbs. But it wasn’t just her angelic voice and kind words that made her stand out. Lauren was creative, patient, thoughtful, and charismatic and made each and every one of the children she interacted with feel like they were the most important person in the world. Heck, she even made this 34 year old woman feel that way.


Lauren’s life story took a turn when she found out not only that she was pregnant, but also that she had breast cancer. Heartbreakingly, she first saw her baby via ultrasound and found out about her cancer diagnosis all on the same day.  Lauren talked about her unique pregnancy journey with Chicago Parent, which you can read here.

Photo by TK Photography

Thankfully, her “Little Warrior” baby Nico arrived healthy and after additional cancer fighting treatments post-pregnancy, Lauren was happy to discover that her cancer was in remission. Lauren, her husband Ian, and Nico were a blissful family until they discovered that Lauren’s cancer was back in the form of Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. A true warrior herself, Lauren maintained a positive outlook and continued writing and singing all while going through exhausting cancer treatments.


On her You Caring site, Lauren wrote that she didn’t feel like she lost to cancer, even though it returned. In her words,


“I love my family and friends. I love my life. And my son reminds me every single day that I won. I was able to bring him into the world despite the most dire of circumstances. His smile gets me through EVERYTHING. I may have given him life, but, like I’ve said before, he saves mine every day. And that’s why cancer never wins.”



Unfortunately, after a valiant battle, Lauren Smoke passed away on April 28th surrounded by her loving family. My heart breaks for her family, especially Ian and Nico. But instead of feeling helpless, there are so many things that we (I’m looking at you, person behind the computer screen) can do to help.

Photo by TK Photography


We can’t bring Lauren back, but we can share our stories of her. We can help cover the cost of her medical care by donating to her You Caring site. We can bring Ian and Nico a meal so cooking isn’t a worrisome problem. We can celebrate her life with song and happy memories at her Memorial service. We can help spread her legacy through Nico and support his college fund, in addition to the fight against breast cancer.

Photo by TK Photography

For those with little ones who were touched by Miss Lauren’s music, Bubbles Academy is hosting a free “Finding Language for Loss” seminar with a Child Life and Grief Specialist to help families navigate their way through this difficult time.

 Rest in peace, my friend. You will never be forgotten.
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  1. Robin Rue says

    She sounds like an amazing lady. It reminds me (sort of) of a girl I went to high school with. She had this nagging cough when she was pregnant, had a chest xray and found out she was FULL of cancer – all over. It was awful.

  2. Alli Smith says

    My heart breaks for this family! I can tell that Lauren was such a special person and you can see the sparkle in her eyes – even in the photos. What a great way to honor Lauren and help her family at the same time.

  3. Terri Beavers says

    Oh my gosh, I feel so bad for those left behind and of course for what she had to go through. I think it’s great that you’re spreading this message to get everyone on board to do what we can to help out.

  4. Jeanette says

    What is an amazing woman! She has such an amazing story it is so sad to hear that she lost her battle. Cancer is a terrible terrible disease I wish there would be a cure for it. I love that you were trying to do whatever you can to support the family now. That is absolutely awesome.

  5. Amber Myers says

    Oh wow, this tugged at my heartstrings. What a beautiful woman. I do hope money is donated to help with medical costs. I know those can add up.

  6. Rebecca Swenor says

    My heart goes out to all those that loved and cared for her. This is a great way to try and help her family. The medical bills can indeed be such an enormous stress to an already stressful situation. Thanks for sharing the her legacy.

    • Amanda says

      You are 100% correct. I really hope we can help support Lauren’s family in a wide variety of ways to help ease the burden of her loss.

  7. Pam says

    I hope everyone bands together to help Ian and Nico out now. Lauren sounds like she was an amazing woman who touched many lives.

  8. Sarah Parisi says

    I didn’t know her personally, but I’ve been following this story online and it’s just so heartbreaking. It’s nice to hear from people who knew her.

    • Amanda says

      It’s so heartbreaking, isn’t it? Lauren was always so positive…I will always admire her grace and strength.

  9. Patty says

    I knew Lauren for about a year through a cancer support group we were part of. She was one of the first to welcome me and reach out to me. She was so full of life and positive energy, and made the last year so much easier for me. She was loved by all, and will be greatly missed. Fly high and sing with the angels sweet Lauren.

    • Amanda says

      She fought a very valiant battle. Oh how I hate cancer and how it takes such wonderful people from us.

  10. Betty says

    Wow what a beautiful woman inside and out! We will continue hoping and praying that a cure will be found sooner than later for this disease!

  11. Sari says

    Very inspirational post. She sounds an incredible person inside and out. Women like her is a great example to others.

  12. Emma Spellman says

    I can tell just by looking at these pictures that she had a wonderful energy about her. I will try to donate when we get paid next week.

    • Amanda says

      Joy simply radiated from her…glad that you can see it as well, even without personally knowing her.

  13. Jaime Nicole says

    She sounds land looks like an amazing woman. Praying for her little one and her family – so very sad.

  14. Amanda Love says

    I think she’s such a strong person! It’s good to be able to help out families in need especially when there are little ones involved. I hope she’ll be able to get through this storm that she’s currently fighting and be able to spend more time with her kids.

  15. Annemarie LeBlanc says

    This is so heartbreaking. A young wife and mother losing her battle with cancer. I think the best way we can help is to bring Ian and Nico a meal and/or contribute to his college fund. It makes me so sad that Nico won’t have a chance to know his mom. 🙁

  16. Catvills says

    Lauren is a courageous woman, it is just sad that she lost the battle. My heart goes out to her husband and young son. I will help in any way I can, I would most probably donate to Little Nico’s college fund.

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