Lori, a gifted freelance writer who has penned more than 3,000 articles for local, regional and national publications, mysteriously lost the ability to move her feet in September 2007. The paralysis later spread to her legs and arms. She eventually moved to a wheelchair and had only limited use of her hands for typing. Her inability to use her hands meant she was no longer able to continue her work as a freelance writer, which had been her sole means of supporting her and her seven-year old son, Jackson. Her mom, Shannon, moved up from Florida in February to care for both of them. Lori is now confined to a hospital bed and is dependent upon a Bi-Pap breathing machine. Doctors confirmed a diagnosis of Lyme Disease in April, but have since named ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) as a prime suspect.
Steele is well-known in the Traverse City area, where she first moved in 1989 to work as a reporter and editor at the Traverse City Record-Eagle. She eventually moved into freelance work, writing for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Woman’s Day, Orion, Salon.com and scores of other publications. She also worked as an editor and writer for Traverse the Mag azine. She edits and designs books, including copy editing Michael Moore’s Dude, Where’s My Country?
Steele helped kick off Moore's Traverse City Film Festival in its first year, handling all the publicity, promotion, media relations, writing movie teasers, and coordinating the care and feeding of visiting journalists.
The enormity of her medical bills, combined with her inability to work, has created a tremendous hardship. Lori is days away from losing her home to foreclosure.