Co-Chair, MD Chapter
Over many years, I have met many patients with lymphedema (LE) and lymphatic diseases (LD) and therapists through our business of Lymphedema and compression garment fitting. I have to say, that it has been such a learning experience to hear the patient’s stories and the challenges that they and their therapists go through to treat this disease. Some of the most awesome people I have ever met and the most passionate about not only finding the best way to treat LE and LD, but possibly finding a cure one day. I have always enjoyed working within the lymphatic community and getting to know people from its vast avenues of treatment options. I was very exciting to be introduced to LE&RN and have the opportunity to help start the Maryland Chapter and advocate for the patient’s that I have met and will meet in the future.
For the past ten years, I have been involved with fundraising committees for our local hospital foundation board and the National Hospice Regatta Alliance. I serve on the Regatta Committee and I am the Chair of the Auction sub-committee. With my experience over the years, I feel that I have a lot to offer to help advocate and raise funds for LE&RN the LE/LD community. I am looking forward to meeting many more great people and together make a difference.
Co-Chair, Maryland Chapter
In 2013, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and BRCA2 positive with lymph node involvement. I was then diagnosed with Lymphedema in my right arm in 2015 as a result of my double mastectomy. There was not a lot of information for help so I began researching on my own. In 2016 I became involved with the Lymphedema Treatment Act, advocating through phone, fax, emails, etc. I testified in Annapolis in 2018 to help the passing of the Maryland House Bill 847. I facilitate a Lymphedema & Educational Support Group in Harford County, MD and in 2018, I was introduced to LE&RN and became the Co-Chair of the Maryland Chapter. Knowledge is so powerful and I look forward to meeting new people who share the awareness and importance of more research to hopefully one day find a cure for this disease. I have this disease but it doesn't have me!
Vice Chair, MD Chapter
Jess was diagnosed with Primary Lymphedema in 2014 but has had it for almost 20 years without realizing it. In high school she had a bout of cellulitis in her foot that caused her right foot to swell and never return to ‘normal’ size, but since there were no other answers it just became her ‘norm’. It wasn’t until 2014 (she was in her mid 30’s) that her foot began to swell more than [her] normal and felt the need to look for answers again. She had just lost about 40lbs and didn’t understand why her feet and legs would be getting bigger. Two visits to a vascular doctor and finally giving-in to be fitted for ‘prescription’ compression stockings, she met with a Garment Fitter that finally told her about the “L word”. This inspired her to research lymphedema and came across LE&RN’s website. After scouring the site, came to the realization this is likely what she’s had all along. She sought out a CLT that the Garment Fitter recommended and was finally given the proper diagnosis. She completed CDT and in 2017 also underwent VLNT surgery under Dr. Cooney of Johns Hopkins. In 2018 she decided to become a surrogate has successfully kept the swelling down, and in fact has decreased in size since the year prior.
In addition to LE&RN’s website, she discovered a few support groups online that proved to be very beneficial; discovering just how many people were in the same boat as her. LE&RN Texas Chapter Chair, Vern of Lymphie Strong has been one of her heroes for being such an amazing advocate and making sure people are getting the support and information they need. Vern has inspired her to do as much as she can to help educate people on this disease and so Jess has volunteered to be Vice Chair of the Maryland Chapter.
Jess is a graphic designer by day, working for a company that raises funds for non-profits. She also teaches classes at her gym and enjoys spending time with her three daughters, husband of 15 years, and two dogs.
She hopes to be able to help the MD Chapter grow and raise awareness for fellow “lymphies” so they can get the help and treatment they deserve, and no one has to go on living without a proper diagnosis and treatment.