2011 Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce IMPACT Award
Perchance to Dream
Former Patient Helps Others Sleep Better
Lauri Leadley spent so much time in hospitals as a child with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, she vowed to care for others as an adult. Valley Sleep Center’s owner still occasionally struggles with her illness, but it never dims her smile or determination to give back.
With five Valley locations, Valley Sleep Center is one of the largest independent facilities in Arizona, diagnosing 6,000 patients annually for sleep-related issues like insomnia, sleep-walking and snoring.
Such treatment is traditionally performed in a hospital-like setting, but Leadley’s patients enjoy modern technology and the comforts of home. Private suites include plush beds, flat screen televisions, wireless internet and their own bathrooms. “You can’t have a sleep study if you can’t fall asleep,” Leadley says.
Two years after founding the business with her husband, Glenn, Lauri was pregnant with their third child when everything changed in a day.
“October 28, 1992,” she remembers. “I was told I had cancer that kills people in six weeks and because I was pregnant, they didn’t know what to do. Scariest thing ever.”
The diagnosis? Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare cancer that threatened Lauri’s life and her unborn child’s. After what she calls “the hardest decision of my life,” she agreed to risky, aggressive chemotherapy treatment that saved them both.
Now cancer-free, Leadley gives back by encouraging other cancer patients and through an annual “Go to Bed Fed” food drive for the United Food Bank. And with three new clinics opened last year and revenue up six fold over 2005, Leadley’s goal of building Arizona’s biggest and best sleep center is being realized.
And as for her youngest child? Connor, born six weeks premature, is a now healthy, happy 18-year-old who will graduate from high school this spring. If his mom’s losing any sleep, it’s for all the right reasons.
Article courtesy of the “Phoenix Business Journal”