Gwendolyn Kay Forbes-Kirby March 4, 1953 – April 9, 2021 She fought bravely and hopefully against cancer for more than a year. At the same time she continued to treat her patients as they themselves were recovering from cancer. Following her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer, Gwen was a physical therapist for thirty-five years. She worked at the Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame, CA, Kapiolani Women’s Center in Honolulu, HI, University of Virginia-HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlottesville, VA and Piedmont Hospital, Atlanta, GA. In Hawaii she became a Certified Lymphedema Therapist, treating patients with Lymphedema for decades. In Atlanta, she joined the Board of Directors for the Lighthouse Lymphedema Network which provides hope and help for patients with Lymphedema. A special fund has been created at the LLN to recognize Gwen’s work in this field. Prayer for Protection The Light of God Surrounds Us The Love of God Enfolds Us The Power of God Protects Us The Presence of God Watches Over Us
On Saturday, December 19, 2020, Dr. Larry E. Ashmore passed away at the age of 68 after a 12 year battle with cancer. After learning about LLN from his physical therapist, Larry joined our board and served as our treasurer for many years and also did LLN’s non-profit IRS filings. Larry was our LLN Volunteer of the Year in 2015. We noted then: “”Every year at this time, we recognize one of our own who has shown exceptional service to the LLN. The person we recognize this year has served as the LLN treasurer for several years. After his cancer surgery, he developed lymphedema in his arm from an infected port for chemo delivery. His positive attitude and happy smile has seen him through two reoccurrences. Y Larry was born in 1952 in Atlanta, Georgia and was married with three daughters. He spent much of his working career at SunTrust Bank as an internal auditor. While working there, Larry attended Nova Southeastern University, where he earned a Doctorate in Business Administration. He was licensed in Georgia as a CPA, and as an accomplished business leader, he followed his dream to become a professor, and taught for the Masters of Accounting program at Georgia State University and was also a member of the Advisory Council of the University’s School of Accountancy. During his career at GSU, Larry had the opportunity to lead a group of students to the Annual Georgia Internal Audit Case Competition, where his team went on to win the event. He additionally worked part-time with the public accounting firm, Kilpatrick, Rea and Associates in delivering assurance and tax services. Larry retired from SunTrust Banks, Inc. in 2012, after 25 years, serving the last several years as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Audit Services. His earlier professional career included the firms Ernst & Young and KPMG. Board member Deb Cozzone added this note: “Larry revolutionized the way we were banking, by separating funds into separate accounts that more closely aligned with our initiatives. He almost single-handedly managed the audit of our 2014 financials, which was very detailed and time-consuming. He was a professional, offering excellent advice for improvement in our financial practices and processes. He was forever patient with me as he provided me more responsibilities for the payment of BAG Fund invoices through the electronic banking system. He always had a smile on his face and he was an intelligent, compassionate, loving and kind man. He always found time for a kind word and thoughtful questions for our volunteers at the LLN conference. His lust for life (whether riding his motorcycle, loving his family or serving others), his faith and his strength in the
Where to start to acknowledge the accomplishments of Pat? Charles “Pat” O’Connor graduated from Portland State University, Portland, Oregon with a BA in history, political science and social science. He served as student body President for two years. He went on to do graduate work in Soviet studies. He studied abroad in Switzerland at “The L’Abri Fellowship”. His course of study was “The Intellectual Climate of the New Theology”. During his career he obtained certifications in customer service management, estate planning, life/health/casualty insurance, and an advanced certification in patient account. Pat was the creator and founder of the award winning website “Lymphedema People”. He was a member of the Lymph Science Advocacy Program (LSAP) through the National Lymphedema Network. Pat served on the Board of Directors for the Lighthouse Lymphedema Network for many years and was recognized in 2006 with a Certificate of Appreciation for his service. In the LLN book entitled The Puzzle: An Inside Glimpse of Lymphedema, Pat was a significant contributor. Not only did he contribute his story Go for the Gold, but he also contributed For the Newly Diagnosed and his beautiful poem The Lighthouse. No patient was more knowledgeable about lymphedema and the lymphatic system, than he was. When his health would no longer allow him to work, he devoted his time creating blogs that communicated with patients and researchers throughout the world. Pat was especially concerned about children with lymphedema. His mission was always to make both the medical profession and the general public recognize the seriousness of this condition. Pat was born with lymphedema called primary/hereditary lymphedema. His twin did not have lymphedema, however, there were others in his family with this condition, thus causing great concern to Pat when he learned that he was to become a grandfather. He was excited to report no swelling in Connors legs and no swelling in two other grandson’s limbs. Pat’s lymphedema was caused by “hypoplasia” of the lymphatics. This means the lymphatic system is constricted and or missing important part’s. Tests done when he was a teen showed that he was missing significant lymph nodes in the inguinal regions. During Pat’s life of dealing with lymphedema, extensive fibrotic tissue of his legs, the diagnosis of B-cell lymphoma and eventual over-all body lymphedema including difficulty in breathing, significant new swelling in both arms, abdomen, chest and back, and the overwhelming pain, he had to deal with frustration and ignorance from the medical community. Eventually, Pat found 3 special physicians whom he admired and who would “listen” to him. Quote from Pat, “We know how lymphedema effect’s our bodies, what is (normal) for ourselves and what should or should not be happening. Listen, care about,
Cole was preceded in death by his wife, Libbie Sanders. Both of these wonderful people were long standing LLN Board members. In just a few short years, we have lost them both. Cole dedicated himself to the care of his wife Libbie and to our organization. His will be a void left unfilled. He will forever be missed by all of us who knew and worked with him over his many years of dedicated service. His life was forever changed when he lost his beloved Libbie just a few short years ago. Our gratitude and our sorrow are extended to the Sanders family during this difficult time. Please know that you, Cole, and Libbie will forever be in our thoughts and prayers.
Although Sunnie’s right arm was paralyzed from cancer treatments and she suffered from neuropathy, she was always an active member of the Lighthouse Lymphedema Network. Sunnie was one of the founding members, served on the LLN Board of Directors for many years and was one of our strongest supporters. Even with her arm and hand paralyzed, Sunnie would somehow always make her delicious orange pecans to sell at the annual Piedmont Hospital Craft Bazaar. The proceeds from this event benefit our needy patients through our Bandage and Garment Fund. Sunnie had quite a distinguished career as a pioneer in television and a lifelong advocate for women’s rights. Later in life, her interests focused on Japan. She and her husband, Woody, visited Japan many times and were active with the Japanese community in Georgia. At one time they lived in a traditional Sukiya-styled Japanese home in Buckhead that was filled with Japanese artifacts and a collection of more than 5,000 books on Japan. Sunnie, we will miss your smile and warmth. Thank you God for the joy of Sunnie.
Wife, Mother, Friend, the true spirit of Christmas When you say Libbie, you think also of Cole. They were an incredible team! At the time we met Libbie and Cole, Libbie’s legs were already extremely deformed and in serious condition from her lymphedema. It was actually Cole who found, on the Internet, the diagnoses for her condition/disease. Over the years, we watched Libbie “battle” her health with determination. Libbie and Cole became active members of the Lighthouse Lymphedema Network, servicing on the board of directors, hosting monthly meetings, summer luncheons, sponsoring the LLN website and simply always being there for us. Libbie and Cole ran their business out of their home, but when Libbie would go outside, she used her scooter. The very last time we saw Libbie was March 11, 2009, at the State Capitol where the Lymphedema Legislative Committee was hosting an education and awareness forum. The story goes that Cole was in bed with a severe lung infection. He always took Libbie to “everything”, but this day, he said, “Libbie, I simply am too ill to go out”. Libbie asked if she found a way to go, would this be ok? Cole had no idea what Libbie was planning. Libbie arrived at the State Capitol with Bubba, a long time friend and helper for the family. She came wheeling in on her scooter with Bubba in toe pulling a suitcase full of cookies and fruit. They had traveled from Decatur to downtown Atlanta via MARTA. We were all so excited to see her and could not believe how she had gotten to the Capitol. This was our Libbie, always wanting to help and always there for all of us. March 11th was a Wednesday and Libbie died on Sunday, March 15th. Libbie, our angel, your courage, determination, spirit, and love of family and others is your legacy. We miss you dear friend. God has our angel!