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Welcome home, ‘Roarin’ Lauren

Lauren Selden holds up her ‘Fighter’ sign in the video. (Special to Hawaii 24/7)

Special to Hawaii 24/7 by Scott Albright

After spending a year away from Hawaii to receive medical care for a rare form of bone cancer, Big Island Babe “Roarin” Lauren Selden last week arrived at the Hilo International Airport, where she was greeted by a cheering crowd of friends, family members and fellow derby girls.

Among those supporters was Hallie “East Coast Ranger” Adolf, one of the coaches of the Big Island Babes junior roller derby team and a skater for the Paradise Roller Girls.

Adolf, who helped to arrange the homecoming, said neither Lauren nor the rest of her family knew they were going to be greeted by the crowd of supporters who passed out leis, hugs, and handshakes to the Seldens as they made their way down from the airport’s arrival terminal.

Lauren had no difficulty returning the hugs despite the crutches and knee brace needed to help her recover from recent surgery, but after a few rounds of squeezes she took a seat next to friends and derby mates who buzzed off questions while encircling her as though she were a local celebrity.

Lauren’s stardom, however, spreads beyond the drove of supporters she had at the airport.

While being treated for a tumor in her leg at the Seattle Children’s Hospital, Lauren appeared in a video in which she and other cancer patients lip-sync and dance to Kelly Clarkson’s pop hit “Stronger.”

Lauren is seen holding a sign that reads “Fighter” in the video, which received a YouTube response from Clarkson herself.

After going viral on the Internet, the video and its stars caught the attention of media giants including ABC News, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News.

That video had received more than 2.6 million views on YouTube.

Although Lauren currently shows no signs of cancer and is eager to return to school, she still will be monitored closely for five years to ensure the disease does not return.

Lauren’s fame and fighting spirit does not come without its downside. In addition to the negative health and social aspects Lauren and her family have to deal with, they also are tackling medical bills and continuous travel expenses.

Because of the lack of medical care and facilities available in Hawaii needed to treat patients like Lauren, she has to return to Seattle once a quarter for medical checkups, and just like the medical bills, those travel costs will add up too.

Lauren’s father, Todd Selden, said the family has already received a significant amount of help from family, friends and the derby community.

“People have been very generous here and back in Seattle,” he said. “It’s been amazing.”

He added that the whole affair is a bit “overwhelming,” but Lauren and the family “will prevail.”

Those who wish to assist Lauren and her family may do so by making a donation in her name at any Home Street Bank or by transferring money to lauren@piperselden.com through a PayPal account.

Paradise Roller Girls is a women’s flat-track roller derby league based on the Big Island of Hawaii. PRG’s mission is to promote a healthy, athletic lifestyle in their community through the alternative sport of roller derby.

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