Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta star Lori Allen is a perennially upbeat, can-do kind of woman, but the owner of Bridals by Lori is now facing a devastating diagnosis: breast cancer.
In a clip from the TLC special Say Yes to the Cure: Lori's Fight airing on Oct. 26, she tearfully delivers the news of her illness to her beloved staff.
"I went in for a regular mammogram, and the results came back positive, and I have breast cancer," she says to her shocked employees. "I've got to have surgery and I'm going to be out for quite a while."
For Lori, who has spent her career helping brides find just the right gown for their big day, letting other people do the heavy lifting at her Atlanta shop is not something she's used to.
"I'm the girl that everybody counts on. I'm the girl that when you need something done, I'm there to do it," she says. "But this go-to girl is going to be down for a little bit."
Lori leans on her coworkers, whom she describes as being her family, for support – particularly her best friend, the shop's fashion director Monte Durham, who also stars on the show.
"You know you're going to owe me when you get back because sending me to bridesmaids isn't very nice," quips Monte, who will be running the bridesmaids' floor of the store while Lori is out, trying to lighten the mood.
Though Monte and Lori enjoy the levity of the moment, the two pals both choke back tears discussing their close friendship and how to handle Lori's battle with breast cancer.
In the one-hour special Lori opens up about her diagnosis, which happened in April, and her struggle to beat the disease.
"I was devastated when I found out that I had breast cancer,” says Lori. "Wanting to turn something very negative into something positive, I decided to share my journey ... in hopes that I can raise breast cancer awareness and perhaps help other women facing breast cancer be less afraid."
Say Yes to the Cure: Lori's Fight airs on Oct. 26 on TLC.