“I feel super,” said Laura Jajo, after recovering from life saving surgery: a double mastectomy performed by Swedish Hospital surgeon Dr. Patricia Dawson and reconstructive surgery afterwards performed by plastic surgeon Dr. Wandra Miles.
Five hours of surgery, two doctors, and a shared hope.
“It’s giving her a new life,” said Kim Lavarello, Laura’s half sister.
Swedish Medical Center performed the surgeries for free after seeing our initial story about two determined sisters on a lifesaving search.
‘We were adopted in Florida,” said Kim, referring to herself and her twin sister Stephanie.
Kim and Stephanie Lavarello pushed to unseal adoption records so others in their family could get tested for a genetic mutation they had that significantly increases the chances of cancer. It’s BRCA 1.
When they found the half-sister they never knew they had, they urged Laura to get tested tool. Laura tested positive, but she had no health insurance and couldn’t afford the prophylactic surgeries her sisters received - the double mastectomies.
Enter Swedish. The physicians affiliated with the True Family Women’s Cancer Center at Swedish offered to do the surgeries for 38-year-old Laura for free.
‘Wow, I’m going to cry,” Laura said after we told her the news in June, her eyes filled with tears of joy.
Now four months later, even more joy.
“The worry’s gone. I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” said Laura.