Florida Chapter Co-Chair
Annette was born and raised in the New York metropolitan area, but has lived in Orlando, Florida for the past 26 years. She first noticed swelling of both legs over 20 years ago and had no idea what it could be. It was not improved by losing weight, exercise, or wearing different shoes. She was prescribed diuretics by several physicians over the years who had no diagnosis other than edema or water weight. She is now 64 years old and was finally diagnosed with secondary bilateral lymphedema only two years ago! She discovered that a very severe car accident at age 17, with major damage to the right leg, abdominal surgery for a total hysterectomy, and removal of a cancerous tumor for leiomyosarcoma in the right calf could have all contributed to the development of lymphedema. She would like to send a "shout out" to Kathy Bates who, by appearing on a television program, introduced her to LE&RN. Annette's hope is to use her experience to encourage others to seek help and feel that they are not alone. By sharing the knowledge, awareness, resources and support available in the state of Florida, both patients and medical professionals can learn more about this often overlooked and misdiagnosed condition.
Florida Chapter Co-Chair
Amy’s passion for dance started in her early childhood. Performing in the spotlight was a rewarding opportunity to her, even though at times it had its defeats. At the age of fourteen, she started experiencing bilateral swelling in her lower extremities that were slowing down her dancing career and transforming her body. She became determined to find answers. Her family and faith provided constant encouragement to never lose hope, as they were not going to allow her to face this journey alone. Although she wanted answers, she was not prepared for the life long journey that was set out before her. In 2011 Amy was diagnosed with Primary Lymphedema after eighteen years of countless misdiagnoses.
Part of her quest brought her to LE&RN in 2014, and she has since supported their efforts in conjunction with her continued work as a Lymphedema Ambassador. Taking to the stage again, Amy is shining the spotlight on her advocacy platform, Lymphedema through a pageantry title as
Mrs. Central Florida International. As she travels Nationally and Internationally building education and awareness, she finds herself reflecting on her past and making connections with the present that has truly shown Amy that her life has come full circle. Her feet are still her greatest strength and she will continue to use them in such a way to encourage and inspire others to no longer suffer in silence, but instead live with Lymphedema in the spotlight.