Sarah Lomax Gray, Co-Founder and Director

inregisterAs “bestie” of Lauren Savoy since High School, Sarah was devastated with the loss of her friend so early in her life. Lauren and Sarah shared many similar interests and had dreams of raising their families together. Sarah spoke with Lauren during the summer of her remission in 2011 about her feelings on being diagnosed with skin cancer and Lauren told her, “I just didn’t know I could get skin cancer at 24, I was good about wearing sunscreen and never went in a tanning bed, I just didn’t know.”  That conversation stayed with Sarah.  She used her background in corporate event planning and graphic design to work with her younger sister, Emily Gonsoulin, on an event that could bring awareness to skin cancer. Emily had always seen Lauren as a role model and friend and shared the idea that something needed to be done to tell others about this cancer. Emily and Sarah began to plan a 5K and 1 mile HAT RUN for the Spring of 2013–a race that would incorporate both fun and awareness. The HAT RUN is a 5k in which participants are encouraged to wear a fun hat, get their skin screened and learn a little about sun safety. Towards the end of Lauren’s life, she was given word of the plan to have an awareness race in her hometown and she offered a big smile of approval. Lauren passed away two days later. The HAT RUN was a great success for the first year. Sarah then decided to change careers to focus solely on the LSO Foundation. In the first two years of the LSO Foundation, She has been able to host a successful community race, bring education to the community on skin cancer prevention, and make critical connections with others in the field. Losing her friend has been hard, yet she has found some solace in the success of the LSO Foundation. She hopes that the work of the LSO Foundation is truly bringing awareness to skin cancer and teaching others how they can prevent and protect themselves from the sun’s rays. Sarah explains it simply, “I hate that we have Lauren’s story, but we have it for a reason. It brings home the fact that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and we have to start protecting and preventing sun damage to our skin now, not when we are 60 or even 30….now in our teens, and in our twenties.”

Sarah makes a happy home with her Japanese Chin/Pekinese puppy “Ellie” and newly married husband Paul. She keeps a craft room in the third bedroom full of Lauren and Sarah’s unfinished craft projects and every Saturday tries to tackle one new art project if she isn’t at a neighborhood estate sale.

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Emily Lomax Gonsoulin, Co-Founder

Napa1 194Sarah Lomax Gray’s younger sister, Emily grew up with Lauren as her role model and friend. Lauren made Emily and Sarah get along and “play nice”. Today, Emily and Sarah continue to work together on each project and event. It is important to mention that Emily first approached Lauren and Sarah about having a race and starting an awareness foundation. She did the ground work for what is today’s successful LSO Foundation. Emily lives in New Orleans and keeps a happy home in the Garden District with puppy “Molly” and husband Ben. She frequently can be seen on her scooter driving down Magazine Street.

Nancy & Mike Savoy, Lauren’s parents

IMG_1888Lauren’s parents, Nancy and Mike Savoy, are an important piece to the LSO Foundation. The woman they raised became a light into the world and the Foundation keeps Lauren’s light shining. Nancy and Mike support the foundation and it’s work knowing that their daughter lived for a reason and continues to, “make people happy and smile,” as Nancy says.  Nancy and Mike travel often and visit their other two adult children who live with their families in Florida and Texas. They have 9 grandchildren, 8 are from their oldest daughter and her husband, Jennifer and Matthew. The 9th grandchild, Margot Lauren, belongs to their son and his wife, Jacob and Leslie.