We all know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, fought a battle with breast cancer, and unfortunately may have even passed away. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women next to lung cancer. It’s a disease that we as a society still have yet to understand fully and why it’s the leading cause of death. However, that does not discourage or stop one woman from fighting for herself and others who suffer from this disease.
Lori Levine is a Breast Cancer survivor and advocate. She is the mother of two fabulous sons, Justin and Ben, and also the founder and CEO of Scott’s Protein Balls. Levine was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in the Spring of 2017. Though it was a scary moment for her, her husband, and her family it did not allow her to feel sorry for herself. She did not stop dreaming, pushing, and fighting to live. In fact, this diagnosis would change her life entirely in a way that she never thought it would. The fight against breast cancer would inspire her to become an “accidental entrepreneur.”
In April 2017, Lori went in for her routine mammogram exam. Key word, “routine.” Though we know as a society this is something that we should all likely do in consideration for our health, it is also something we never expect to turn out the way it does. We all go in for routine exams and hope that they go well and the news following it is positive. For Lori, the news that she would receive following her exam would change her life and her family’s life forever.
Prior to getting the call, Lori remembers the look on the doctor’s face when the sonogram revealed a mass. As Lori puts it, she knew and she knew that the doctor knew. In other words, it was a reading-the-room kind of moment. However, Lori did not jump to conclusions. She proceeded with her day and on that same day she was headed to the airport to fly out for her eldest son’s college graduation.
Upon boarding her flight, that’s when she got “the call.” It’s a call that no one ever wants to get. It was in fact, Breast Cancer. Although it was not the call that she wanted at the time, she did not allow it to ruin a good weekend. It was her son’s graduation weekend. So Lori and her husband, Scott, agreed that they would not say anything to anyone until afterward.
The Treatment and Life Changer
Following Lori’s conversation with her doctor, she went in for surgery where doctors would take a sample. While this sample would determine that she was in Stage Two of Breast Cancer, it would also determine the type of treatment she would need, which was radiation for eight weeks. Lori shared her experience and what her journey was like while going through treatment.
“You feel out of control of your life,” she says. However, that did not allow her to feel sorry for herself and she sure was not going to allow others to feel sorry for her. Levine openly expresses that radiation treatment allowed her to see the silver lining in her situation.
“There are things I can control,” she said.
She continued, “I can control my body and what I can eat.”
Following Lori’s breast cancer treatment, her nutritionist told her that she could no longer eat processed snacks or protein bars. Bummed by the news because these were her favorite type of snacks, Lori had to throw away all processed protein bars filled with sugar and preservatives and find a healthier snack. This became a problem for Lori considering everywhere she shopped and anywhere she looked, she was unable to find a snack that was free of any processed junk! Of course, this frustrated her: even her husband, Scott.
This inspired him to create a Peanut Butter Cacao protein ball using all plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free ingredients. Not only would this become one of their most popular products, but it was also Lori’s favorite snack flavor and she would always carry them around and have them on standby when she craved one. These snacks would be the reason Scott and Lori would go into business together.
Scott’s Protein Balls
Lori’s health scare inspired her husband, Scott, to help the two of them live a healthy lifestyle. After learning that most protein bars are unhealthy, Scott took it upon himself to create something that was clean, consisted of the freshest ingredients, and of course healthy. It all started in the kitchen of their home. Day and night, Scott worked hard to find the perfect consistency and deliciousness of the perfect protein ball.
His hard work and dedication helped him come up with one of their most popular flavors, Peanut Butter Cacao. Before the Levines knew it, friends from the neighborhood and family became obsessed with Scott’s Protein Balls. It was never really in Scott and Lori’s interest to become business owners. Both are Certified Public Accountants, but when people started asking for their delicious protein balls, Lori suggested going into business together.
As her husband puts it, they became “accidental entrepreneurs.” By 2020, the Levines were officially in business making a delicious-tasting treat that is plant-based and gluten, dairy, and soy-free. Scott’s Protein Balls best seller is the original flavor that was first made, Peanut Butter Cacao.
Lori’s road to recovery was heavily impacted by some of the most modern advances in research. Research that would help her learn more about the stage of Breast Cancer she was in and more importantly the type of treatment she would need. One of the missions of Scott’s Protein Balls is always to help fund research for breast cancer. As part of that mission, they have a strong and powerful partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.1% of all sales are donated to BCRF to help support breast cancer research.
It has been a long, but yet rewarding journey for Lori. To say the least, becoming a breast cancer survivor changed her life forever in a way she never thought it would. It’s been six years since Levine’s diagnosis and now she is stronger than ever.
“As for how I’m doing, I’m great!” Says Lori. “I’ve been cancer-free for six years and I was recently able to come off some of the medicine that I have been on during that time, which is so exciting,” she continued.Though it’s natural for any cancer survivor or family member of a survivor to worry if cancer ever comes back, when it comes to Lori she chooses to focus on progression and how far she has already come. “Of course, I get worried periodically about a recurrence, but I try not to dwell on it,” she says. This past summer Lori and Scott were honored at the
Outstanding Product Award for their growth and commitment to cancer research. They both attended top-notch events all summer including
HMI’s School’s Out Benefit, Holiday House Hamptons, Rufus Wainwright’s Montauk Lighthouse Benefit, Cancer Schmancer, and more. Scott’s Protein Balls also supported H
ope for Depression’s Walk of Hope + 5K Run and Ellen’s Run.We can all learn something from Lori’s story and that is despite any hardship that we may face, we should never let that stop us from living our best and healthiest lives. Healthy does not have to necessarily mean eating clean or exercising daily. However, if that’s your idea of it don’t let us tell you how to live it. It could also mean creating that bucket list of things you have always wanted to try. It could be revisiting your favorite vacation spot with your loved ones. For Lori, it was cherishing every moment she had with her husband, two sons, and other friends and family. It was also becoming an “accidental entrepreneur. “The best advice I can give someone who is having a challenging time is to keep fighting, never give up, and try to stay positive. I really believe in the power of positive thinking and believe it can work wonders, even though it’s very difficult at times,” says Lori.
To learn more about Scott’s Protein Balls and to stay up to date on their newest flavors you can follow them on Instagram @scottsproteinballs. You can also join their mission of funding research for Breast Cancer at https://scottsproteinballs.com/pages/bcrf.