Lauri Leadley of Valley Sleep Center: I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine
Published in
8 min readNov 8, 2021


Patience — Having cancer twice, undergoing numerous scans and waiting for all the results, patience became my weakest point. With lymphoma, you have to wait 5 years to be officially cured, so I was scanned every 3 months over those 5 years. I found that time lessened the anxiety & sting of things, so I made sure to make my life count and let time heal.

Cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. Yet millions of people have beaten the odds and beat cancer. Authority Magazine started a new series called “I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It”. In this interview series, we are talking to cancer survivors to share their stories, in order to offer hope and provide strength to people who are being impacted by cancer today. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lauri Leadley.

Lauri Leadley is a clinical sleep educator and president and co-founder of Valley Sleep Center. She is a 27 year, two-time cancer survivor, having beat Burkitt’s lymphoma and breast cancer during her career.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! We really appreciate the courage it takes to publicly share your story. Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your background and your childhood backstory?

As a young child, I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and underwent a multitude of medical procedures. The care I received from the respiratory therapists inspired me to go into the work I do now. In 1990, I launched an in-home medical testing service which grew exponentially and became the Valley Sleep Center. Two years in, I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer called Burkitt’s lymphoma, while pregnant with my third child. Four chemotherapy treatments and three surgeries later, our healthy miracle baby was born! Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of my journey with cancer. In 2015, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer. I received a double mastectomy and 15 chemotherapy treatments while consistently struggling to fall and stay asleep. Today I am cancer-free and helping those all around the world with the same issues.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I was first diagnosed while I was pregnant with Connor, at 26 years old. I was faced with the decision of whether I should terminate my pregnancy or not. At this point, I had already chosen my child’s name and was far enough in the pregnancy that I would have to go out of state to terminate it.

I went to church seeking some answers and the pastor told me “you’ll never have joy in life without taking risks.” This has stuck with me ever since. I decided to take the risk of undergoing chemo while pregnant and had a healthy baby boy. I grew my business with the same mantra.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about surviving cancer. Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you found out that you had cancer?

I was 26 years old and 22 weeks pregnant when I was diagnosed with Burkett’s lymphoma. I had a mass in my neck removed that was found to be an abscessed lymph node. The doctors then found a lump in my breast. Once it was removed, there were no concerns it might be cancer, but when the pathology report came back, I was told it was a rare and aggressive form of cancer and needed treatment immediately. I was advised by multiple physicians to terminate my pregnancy, but refused. My husband and I finally met with a doctor who took the risk of treating a pregnant woman in her second trimester.

I continued to get regular mammograms throughout the years, all of which were clean. As I approached 50 years old, I underwent a hysterectomy and was placed on hormone therapy. The pills made me feel sick, so I got off them. 23 years after my initial diagnosis, I felt a lump in my breast and immediately requested diagnostic testing from my primary care physician. After I had my biopsy, I learned I had invasive ductal carcinoma and needed to stop the hormone therapy immediately.

What was the scariest part of that event? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?

The scariest moment for me was at the University of Arizona, in front of the National Medical Director of Lymphoma. He wouldn’t look at me but told my husband, Glenn, that he hopes his affairs are in order. I was told I only had 6 weeks to live. I asked myself, is Connor going to live? What would my children do without their mother?

How did you react in the short term?

Panic, of course, but I held on to my faith. I thought that was my moment to die, but it clearly wasn’t my time and this became a walking testimony to my faith. In the end, everything happens for a reason.

After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use? What did you do to cope physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

In 2015, I wrote a letter to cancer. Fueled by the fight in ways I never imagined, journaling became an outlet for me. I also turned to hot yoga. I would envision the cancer cells exploding from the heat and the weight on my shoulders I walked in with would lift. Lastly, and very importantly, family and friends. I am a people person, and the support I receive from my loved ones is unparalleled.

Is there a particular person you are grateful towards who helped you learn to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?

My husband, Glenn, has done nothing but take care of me for the last 38 years. He is a huge part of my life and I will forever be grateful that he is.

In my own cancer struggle, I sometimes used the idea of embodiment to help me cope. Let’s take a minute to look at cancer from an embodiment perspective. If your cancer had a message for you, what do you think it would want or say?

My cancer would tell me to fight and win. Also to enjoy each and every day.

What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? How has cancer shaped your worldview? What has it taught you that you might never have considered before? Can you please explain with a story or example?

My struggles with illness have taught me love, hope and compassion. I strive to help those in their fight as well.

How have you used your experience to bring goodness to the world?

I am using my experience to help others. I believe the reason I am still here is to inspire others and change lives.

What are a few of the biggest misconceptions and myths out there about fighting cancer that you would like to dispel?

That it’s a death sentence. Lots of people survive cancer. Sometimes people also think it’s contagious or something would happen if I came in contact with them. Also, don’t wait for the person with cancer to ask you to do something, just ask.

People also think that once chemo is over, life is back to normal. Nope — nothing ever goes back to what it used to be. It’ll never be over, ever. You are seen as a cancer patient forevermore, like a permanent label.

Doctor visits are always terrifying, as little things can always become worse, like getting pneumonia.

Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what advice would you give to others who have recently been diagnosed with cancer? What are your “5 Things You Need To Beat Cancer? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Faith — With everything I had already experienced, going back to chemo was like riding a bike. I kind of knew what to do, but because my body had already gone through it before, I struggled and didn’t think I could go through chemo again. I was lying on my grandmother’s wooden chest when my son walked in asking if I was okay. I told him I couldn’t do this anymore. He said, “Mom you’re doing this. You’re going to fight for dad, your kids, and grandkids.” At that moment I told myself OK, it’s time to fight. In 2018, I lost my dad to lung cancer and watched him die. My oncologist once told me, “Lauri, why are you wasting energy worrying about what might happen tomorrow when you can use that energy for something good today.”
  2. Family
  3. Friends
  4. A Positive Outlook — In 1992 an oncologist said to me, “I can give you all the drugs in the world, but if you don’t think you’re going to get better, you’re not going to.” It’s all about having mind over body.
  5. Patience — Having cancer twice, undergoing numerous scans and waiting for all the results, patience became my weakest point. With lymphoma, you have to wait 5 years to be officially cured, so I was scanned every 3 months over those 5 years. I found that time lessened the anxiety & sting of things, so I made sure to make my life count and let time heal.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

Nobody is getting out of here alive, so make it count. You’re responsible for the energy you bring into a room so bring good energy everywhere you go.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. :-)

Dr. Jack Cavalcant. He is the doctor who chose to give me chemo and take the risk so I could have my Connor. He retired before I got my 2nd diagnosis, and I don’t know where he is or if he knows I’m alive. I just want him to see what he’s done for me and my family.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Keep up with our blog on There are lots of amazing articles to check out as well as free webinars every week!

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

About The Interviewer: Savio P. Clemente coaches cancer survivors to overcome the confusion and gain the clarity needed to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit. He inspires health and wellness seekers to find meaning in the “why” and to cultivate resilience in their mindset. Savio is a Board Certified wellness coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), stage 3 cancer survivor, podcaster, writer, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC.

Savio pens a weekly newsletter at where he delves into secrets from living smarter to feeding your “three brains” — head 🧠, heart 💓, and gut 🤰 — in hopes of connecting the dots to those sticky parts in our nature that matter.

He has been featured on Fox News, and has collaborated with Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, Food Network, WW, and Bloomberg. His mission is to offer clients, listeners, and viewers alike tangible takeaways in living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle.

Savio lives in the suburbs of Westchester County, New York and continues to follow his boundless curiosity. He hopes to one day live out a childhood fantasy and explore outer space.



Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), Journalist, Best-selling Author, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor