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2021 LE&RN/Lymphnotes U.S. Lymphedema Therapist Scholarship winners: Jennifer Kanyuch and Sarah Huot

2021 LE&RN/Lymphnotes U.S. Lymphedema Therapist Scholarship winners: Jennifer Kanyuch and Sarah Huot

My name is Jennifer Kanyuch and I am a Physical Therapist Assistant in Grass Valley, CA.  I graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a PT Assistant degree from Central Ohio Technical College.  I currently work in an outpatient PT clinic, which specializes in orthopedic, pelvic floor, neurological and vestibular rehabilitation.  Throughout my career, I have treated both orthopedic and lymphedema patients (after attending a non-certification lymphedema class).

When I moved to this rural community two years ago, I had a local physician contact me about treating a patient with lymphedema. I had experience with this patient population in the past, but was always fortunate enough to be part of a team that included a certified lymphedema therapist.  I was a little apprehensive, but with encouragement from my fellow co-workers and the doctor, I was able to successfully help this patient.  This experience prompted me to explore the available lymphedema treatment options in our community.  I was shocked to find that most patients had to drive an hour for treatment!  It was then that I decided to become a certified lymphedema therapist.  The LE&RN scholarship paired with the Klose Lymphedema training has enabled my clinic and myself to start a specialized lymphedema practice to help address this need.  After completing the training in April, I have met with local healthcare providers and have already received several referrals.  I am looking forward to helping people who struggle with this often misdiagnosed and misunderstood condition, as well as become a resource in my community.

Jennifer Kanyuch

My name is Sarah Huot and I am an occupational therapist working with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe in Kenai, Alaska. I graduated with a Master of Occupational Therapy from University of North Dakota in 2019 and currently specialize in pelvic floor and women’s health therapy. What first sparked my interest in pelvic floor and women’s health was experiencing a lack of understanding, awareness, and appropriate medical care. As I have worked in this area of practice for the last couple years, I have also recognized a need for lymphedema management on various occasions. With the incidence of lymphedema in the breast cancer rehabilitation, I felt this was a critical addition to a women’s health program. There is a shortage of medical care in Alaska, which has only worsened with the pandemic, having an even greater effect on the ability to receive treatment for these conditions. It is important to me to use my education and skill set to provide care to these underserved populations in my community, with a focus on quality of life and engagement in occupations.

My first exposure to lymphedema treatment occurred while I was on a clinical with a CLT OT. She showed me the effect lymphedema care can have on one’s quality of life, and I was baffled that there were so many patients not knowing they could get help for this chronic condition. This past year I was again exposed to lymphedema, when my beloved grandma was battling metastatic cancer. She developed significant lymphedema in her upper extremity and was placed on comfort cares. Due to lack of appropriate care, she could not manage her lymphedema and thus unable to complete her knitting and cross stitching, some of her most meaningful activities. I saw the impact that untreated lymphedema can have on one’s mental and physical wellbeing. 

I am so grateful for the scholarship from the Lymphatic Education and Research Network and the opportunities now available. With the help of this scholarship and wonderful support from my work, I was able to attend and complete lymphedema training through Academy of Lymphatic Studies (ACOLS). My goal is to raise awareness, understanding, and appropriate lymphedema care for the Native Alaskan community I serve. Thank you, LE&RN and LymphNotes!

Sarah Huot OTR/L, CLT