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Lilly and her husband Steven are typical oldest siblings. Lilly has two younger siblings, her brother Matt and her sister Anna. Growing up in the small town of Clarence, IA, just 20 miles East of Mount Vernon, the three siblings all graduated from North Cedar High School. She attended Iowa State University and got her degree in Education. In 2015, Lilly got a job as a 3rd grade teacher at Viola Gibson Elementary in Cedar Rapids.
During college, Steven, a graduate of North Cedar’s rival high school, Tipton, began pursuing Lilly. At first she let him know that she wasn’t interested, but he was persistent and grew on her over time. Steven, like Lilly, is the oldest of his siblings. They are the rocks of their families, paving the way for their younger siblings, providing guidance, and always beating their younger siblings in board games (to this day).
After Lilly’s youngest sister graduated high school in May of 2017, Lilly’s parents, John and Vicki Petersen, moved to Mount Vernon. Every move being thanks to Steven, a Realtor with Re/Max Concepts.
In October of 2017, Lilly and Steven got married at Celebration Farm outside of Solon. By 2019, Lilly had pursued her Masters in Education, while pregnant with her daughter, Eleanor.
During the pandemic, Lilly, Steven, and Eleanor sold their home in Marion and bought a house just a few houses away from Lilly’s parents. During the transition, the Hankemeier family and Lilly’s youngest sister piled back in with their parents for a few months during the COVID-19 quarantine.
After moving into their house in Mount Vernon, Lilly and Steven made Eleanor a big sister! In January 2021, the Hankemeier family gained little boy Philip. Lilly’s parents find a lot of similarities in Eleanor and Lilly when she was little, but little Philip is a clone of his daddy!
The Hankemeier family of four loves living in Mount Vernon, surrounded by family. Lilly’s cousin, Rachael Yeater and her family live just down the street. Anna, Lilly’s sister, lives on the opposite side of Mount Vernon. Recently, Lilly’s grandparents have also moved to Mount Vernon! Her brother, Matt lives in Mechanicsville with his wife and daughter (Lilly’s niece, Lucille), a quick 10 minute drive. Lilly has even more family local, with aunts and cousins in Center-Point Urbana, Amana, and Clarence.
Being a parent with two young kids is magical, but Lilly and Steven often run on a lack of sleep, along with many other parents. Over the last 2 months, Lilly has been especially tired, with a sore neck and pain down her arm. Other symptoms included shortness of breath. She attributed these symptoms to nothing more than parenthood and keeping up with 25 3rd graders all day. However, as symptoms intensified, she decided to get checked out. A CT scan found several masses in Lilly’s neck and chest. Lillian was diagnose with Lymphoma and is awaiting biopsy results.
Through all of this, Lilly has been checking in on her family. As a daughter, sister, cousin, wife, mother, aunt, and teacher, Lilly gives all those around her endless love, compassion, and support. She is kind and giving, but stubborn and strong. We know she doesn’t need help fighting for her health, we know she can do it all by herself. Her friends and family are determined to return the love she gives out by making sure she doesn’t have to do it alone.
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Lilly's biopsy resulted show that she is battling T-Cell Lymphoma. Since this is a fast growing type of cancer, Lilly's symptoms intesify every day. Her shortness of breath is a main concern, so the cancer clinic at the University of Iowa has asked her to come in so they can admit her. As of right now, they are thinking this will be about a 4 day stay. As I write this, she is recieving a bone-marrow biopsy so we know if the cancer has spread to her bone marrow. We are hopeful that it has not spread and are thankful she is recieving care now, rather than later. We are blown away by the outpour of love and support for Lilly. She has already recieved more than "just a lil' love." Thank you for your continued thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. We are grateful for each and every one of you.