Lauren Smith is an energetic and bright former Merrimack student who is now highly dedicated to her career at a nonprofit organization called the Appendix Cancer Pseudomyxoma Peritonei Research Foundation (ACPMP). Smith was diagnosed with appendix cancer before entering her senior year at Merrimack. This forced Smith and her family to look into organizations that provided information and support to people in similar situations.
Smith and her family learned that appendix cause is so rare that it is not completely recognized by The American Cancer Society. This inspired Smith to educate, inform, and comfort families in relatable situations.
“When I learned that very few organizations even recognize appendix cancer, I was upset and felt lost… I luckily found ACPMP, the only organization dedicated to funding research for appendix cancer and PMP and I quickly became very passionate about making their mission my mission,” Smith said.
Smith is now the Communications and Development Manager at ACPMP, which is dedicated to funding research to help find a cure for Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (or PMP) in addition to Appendix Cancer. ACPMP also has educational programs to help inform students, physicians, and patients of this rare cancer.
“I also continue to do my best to raise funds towards much-needed research, along with providing assistance, answers, and comfort to those newly diagnosed,” Smith said, emphasizing that she never wants anyone going through this to feel alone. “That’s what makes my job so special.”
Smith graduated Merrimack in 2018, with a major in Communication and Media and a double minor in Marketing and Criminal Justice.
During her time at Merrimack, Smith was highly involved on campus. She was part of the Theta Phi Alpha sorority where she held a variety of leadership positions, such as Social Media Coordinator and Vice President of Recruitment. Additionally, Smith held the position of the Features and Social Media Editor for The Beacon. Smith loved engaging and being apart of a variety of groups, which gave her the opportunity to meet new people while also partaking in things she loved.
In regards to her professional development, Smith credits her time at Merrimack for where she is today. She encourages students to get involved with extracurricular activities and to find things to do outside of the classroom to learn and grow skills as a person. By being in clubs and organizations, Smith developed confidence in her ability to be a leader.
Smith recommends that students push themselves outside of their comfort zones, exploring different options, and taking the time to fully explore and figure out what brings you joy.
“You really need to try out all of these ideas you have floating in your head before you find a good fit,” Smith said. “You need to be able to handle whatever life throws at you. I was never expecting to receive a rare cancer diagnosis at the age of 21, but instead it led to my career. A career that I love.”
Smith was never going to let something so negative and life changing dictate the way she was going to live her life. She turned something that no one wants to encounter into a career that she is passionate about and that helps people.
“Finding a job that makes it feel like you aren’t ever working is what makes us
happier and more successful individuals,” Smith said.