Legacies

Arshun Lamonda Lewis in Memoriam 

Born: March 16, 1984

Passed: March 30, 2018

Arshun Lamonda Lewis was born on March 16, 1984 to Lee Knowlin and Joyce Augustus in Racine, Wisconsin. She attended Park High School and furthered her education at Gateway Community Tech.

Arshun will be remembered for her devotion to God. During her early teenage years, she gave her life to Christ and developed her passion for ministry. She was always willing to help others, often putting their needs before her own. Her heart and inner beauty were unmatched! She was spiritual yet genuine; her gentle nature allowed her to relate to everyone she encountered.

Arshun cherished her family and celebrated the great joy they brought to her life! She shared her heart with her husband as a passionate, caring, and loving wife! Her strong faith and values shined through her personality and are now reflected in her two beautiful children. She was a phenomenal woman!

On March 30, 2018, Arshun Lamonda Lewis was transitioned with her Heavenly Father. Arshun is survived by her father Lee Knowlin, mother Joyce Augustus, beloved older brother Dajuan Smith and younger sister Sadѐ Augustus, adoring husband Nameer Lewis, two children Nijah and Layale Lewis, as well as her God parents, Mother in law, grandparents, a host of uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends who all brought great joy to her heart.

Credit to Nameer Lewis, Beloved Husband

*“May the legacy of Arshun L. Lewis live on forever! RIP!” ~The EPIC Foundation

*Arshun Lewis was the cousin of Founder and Executive Director of The EPIC Foundation, Dr. Karen, by marriage. She will be truly missed! She, herself, suffered from a chronic illness and was a true warrior! During the entire battle, she always had a beautiful smile on her face that everyone recognized as being a part of who she was!

Bonny Ham in Memoriam

Born:  1964 (Approximate)

Passed:  October 12, 2009

Bonny Hamm of Australia, lost her battle with adrenal Cushing’s and cancer on October 12, 2009. She was only 45 years old at the time of her death, succumbing to complications from Cushing’s as far too many Cushies who have died far too young have.

According to a post by Bonny on the Cushing’s Help boards three months before her passing, she was sick with all the symptoms (approximately 30-40 symptoms) of Cushing’s for five years.  Once she finally got diagnosed, her left adrenal gland was removed, as well as the tumor, in June 2007.  The recovery was long and hellish. Bonny’s worst symptom after the operation was three months of constant itching from her scalp to her heels and every inch of skin in between. She also experienced terrible pain in every single joint of her body, along with the slow-to-improve symptoms she experienced pre-operatively.

Two and a half years after her first diagnosis, a second tumor was discovered on the same side as the first one, even though her adrenal gland had been removed.  She had to wait for answers while her endocrinologist was overseas and to find out what the plan of attack was, all while fighting horrible symptoms once again, including fractures. Cushing’s made her life difficult and painful, and she suffered emotionally from losing half of her hair, gaining weight and developing a moon face.

As a divorced single parent, Cushing’s made her short life harder than it ever should have been, especially going through it without the help of others.

Rest in peace, Bonny.

Credit to Mary Kelly O’Connor and Cushing’s-Help

Bettye Jean Douglas in Memoriam

Born:  March 30, 1938

Passed:  September 28, 2016

Bettye Jean Douglas, age 78 of Smyrna, Tennessee, died Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at her home. She was a native of Hickman County, Tennessee, and was preceded in death by her first husband Carl Jenkins, and parents James McKinley and Susie Louise Lampley Wright, and siblings, Marie Wright, Pat Nichols, Nellie Tidwell, and Jessie Wright. Mrs. Douglas was a member of Rural Hill Church of Christ and had worked at Ingram Books.

She is survived by her husband, of 23 years, Wendell Douglas; children, Christopher Jenkins and wife Gina of Murfreesboro, Charmaine Herron and husband Steve of Mt. Juliet; step-children; Danna Douglas of Whites Creek, Wendy Morales of Whites Creek, and Kellye Douglas of Whites Creek; grandchildren, Isabella, Matt, Ben, Chip, Gino, Kendell, Jonathon, Michael; great- grandchildren, Steven, Bently, Austin, Gavin, Taylor, Gracie; brother, Billy Ray Wright of Kentucky.

Bettye’s funeral service was held at 10:00AM Saturday, October 1st, 2016 at Woodfin Chapel, Smyrna, Tennessee. Brother Gary Hale officiated. A graveside service followed at 2:00PM Saturday at Five Points Church of Christ Cemetery in Bon Aqua, Tennessee.

Born March 30, 1938, Bettye was tall and thin all of her life, and as beautiful on the inside as on the outside.  Bettye was a beautiful Christian woman.  She loved to laugh and loved a good joke.  She was all about her family and loved family gatherings.  She also loved to travel.  Her favorite vacation destination was Hawaii.

Bettye had two best friends, other than her beloved husband. Gina, her daughter-in-law, and Charmaine Herron, her daughter.  Her daughter Charmaine joked that they were a mix between Charlie’s Angels and The Three Stooges.  No matter what they were like, they had a lot of fun together.

More than anything or anyone, Bettye loved her Lord Jesus Christ.  Bettye passed away due to complications of Cushing’s disease.  Once she was finally diagnosed, a decision was made against surgery and Bettye was put on the cortisol-lowering medication Korlym.  Though she had initially gained weight from Cushing’s disease, as many patients do, she rapidly lost weight and was admitted into hospice care soon after.

Most cannot find the words to describe what Bettye went through during her last months on Earth.   To those left behind, the pain is almost unbearable, but those that loved Bettye find comfort in the knowledge that her health nightmare is over and that Jesus has her now and forevermore.

Credit to Woodfin Chapel and Charmaine Herron

Barbara “Cookie” Rothenberg in Memoriam

Born:  March 30, 1938

Passed:  October 11, 2003

Barbara “Cookie” Rothenberg was an integral member to the Cushing’s community, and one of the founding members of the international organization The CUSH Foundation.  She was the wife of Jerry Rothenberg, devoted mother of Steven (Michelle), Aemi Tucker (Steven), and Judi Rothenberg, and grandmother to Elysha, Michael, Jacob and Halle.

Cookie posted the following poem on the Cushing’s Help forums, and we thought there was no better way to tell Barbara’s story than through her own words.

“It was an awful state that I was in

Hair was growing on my chin

My moods were swinging from low to high

All I did was cry “Let me die!”

 

The hair kept growing down my neck, chest and bod

Would some doctor not think this was a little odd

Sometimes I was up day after day

Then I’d want to sleep all the time to chase my troubles away

 

Rather I’d eat nothing, something, or very little at all

It seemed getting fatter and fatter was my call

I had every symptom of menopause

“Too young,” they said, “It’s in your head, and there is no cause.”

 

I sing, so when I said “I have another octave that is below.”

They said “Pack your bags, to the loony bin you go.”

My periods were off, the doctors were lazy

After running tests they said I was crazy

 

Nine years passed, symptoms got worse and I got fatter

My arms and legs were thin, please help me, what’s the matter

I was beginning to think maybe they are right

Maybe I am just a wee bit up tight

 

But my husband would say find another doctor it has to be

You are not the girl who married me.

Our children were afraid; to them I was so mean

I’d see myself doing and yelling and to myself I would scream

“What is wrong with you? Stop it!” as if I was in a bad dream

 

Credit to Mary Kelly O’Connor and Cushing’s-Help

Kate Myers in Memoriam

Born: June 29th, 1968

Passed: June 23rd, 2014

Kate Myers was loved by everyone in the Cushing’s community. She was considered an advocate, role model, hero, and friend! Kate was a true warrior and fought hard until the very end! Kate went through it all. After going many years undiagnosed from Cushing’s Disease, Kate finally found an answer and went through multiple treatments to fight the battle. Kate had two failed pit surgeries and a CSF leak repair, a

Bilateral Adrenalectomy, and Gamma Knife Radiation leaving her with no pituitary gland, no adrenals and radiation damage to her hypothalamus and in her own words, “disabled and homebound”. Despite all of her adversities, Kate lived by faith. She had immense compassion for others.

Kate was a warrior and as a warrior she fought to also protect others. As a service to others, Kate did a Cushing’s segment on the educational program, National Geographic, in 2007. This is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxSAhLyKVqw

Kate was a license practicing attorney and avid runner before becoming ill. She loved her work and she loved being active. She felt a great sense of loss with not being able to engage in her passions during the latter part of her life. Her other love was her horses. After the devastation of Kate’s passing, her beloved horse was cared for by one of her dearest friends, Melissa.

Kate was survived by many adoring loved ones, many friends, and people whose lives she touched tremendously!

The entire community was shocked when we learned of Kate’s passing on June 23, 2014. We lost an earth angel that day!

However, the legacy of Kate Myers will live on forever!

 

Credit to Mary Kelly O’Connor and Cushing’s-Help

Lori A. Holt in Memoriam

Born: Oct. 7, 1960

Passed: Jan. 6, 2008

Lori A. Holt, 47, of Monmouth, IL., died at 1:52 p.m. Jan. 6, 2008, at OSF St.Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL.

Born Oct. 7, 1960, in Galesburg, IL., she was the daughter of Patrick M. and Patricia Noonan Holt.

Ms. Holt was a teacher at the Lutheran Preschool and Daycare Center in Monmouth for 11 years. She graduated from Galesburg High School and then graduated from Monmouth College with a bachelor’s degree. She also lettered all four years in volleyball, basketball and softball. She earned two Master’s degrees in physical education and health from Western Illinois University and Northwest Missouri State University. Ms. Holt played for the State of Illinois softball team at the national level for two years. She was head coach of women’s volleyball, basketball and softball at Spoon River College and was head coach of softball and basketball at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL. She was coach and athletic director at Costa Catholic High School in Galesburg for a number of years. Ms. Holt was a fan of the Green Bay Packers, the Boston Celtics and the St. Louis Cardinals. She was a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Monmouth.

Survivors include her parents of Knoxville, IL.; five brothers, Frank Felz of Fort Worth, Texas, Michael Felz of Evanston, IL., Paul Felz of Denver, Colo., Patrick Felz of Buffalo Grove, IL., and Martin Holt of Grant Ranch, Colo.; nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents.

These were the words of Lori’s sister in law, Kimberly:

“Lori was truly remarkable, and especially so in her fight with Cushing’s Syndrome (adrenal).

Lori lived in a small town in west-central Illinois, not far from the Mississippi River. As you know, most doctors never see a case of Cushing’s. At some point during the summer of 2007, Lori diagnosed herself by doing research online. Remarkably, she found several doctors who worked with her on this. Sadly, it was too late. In the last few years, she’d begun to gain weight, which perplexed her a great deal. She would occasionally call me or write e-mails, and in addition to telling about things going on with her life and work, she would mention her frustration at not being able to quite sort out just what was causing her health problems.

Lori was a deeply kind and caring person. She was a gentle soul, and loved her preschool children so very much. She never missed sending my two sons a card not only for birthdays but on every single holiday you can imagine — Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day. She was a single woman and worked with great determination to be self-sufficient. She really loved her brothers, and was so glad as they married so she could have some “sisters” around. Once we moved from the Chicago area to northern Michigan in 1998, we didn’t see her often, and I regret that so much.

Lori fought her disease intelligently and valiantly. She suffered a lot while in the hospital between Labor Day weekend and when she died on Sunday, 1/5/08. At different points, she suffered from MRSA, shingles, and extreme breathing distress. I am quite certain that her body was just too spent by the disease to recover itself.”

Credit to Mary Kelly O’Connor and Cushing’s-Help

Melinda C. Smith in Memoriam

Born:  December 26, 1988

Passed:  May 9, 2014

Melinda “Mindy” Smith, age 25, of Harrison, passed away suddenly on Friday, May 9, at her home. Mindy had attended Farwell High School where she had been an honor student and participated in track and cheerleading. She graduated from Clare High School in 2005. She was currently attending college and was hoping to pursue a career as a Psychiatrist. Mindy talked often of becoming a doctor to help others who were struggling with Cushing’s Disease.

Mindy had been battling a fight with Cushing’s Disease since 2005. She fought hard and long, but unfortunately it was a fight that she could not win. She was loved by many, but will be missed by many more.

Mindy is survived by her son, Landon Smith, parents, Deb (Marc) Davis, Fred (Nola) Riggs, of Harrison, and Ralph Rydman, her special friend, Ryan Smith, siblings, Alisha Green of Farwell, Marrissa Rydman of Gresham, Oregon, Misty Riggs of Weidman and Mike Riggs and Seth Riggs both of Florida, her grandparents, Gary (Penny) Smith of Clare, Sheryl (Phil) Wentworth of Harrison, Janet Riggs of Harrison, and Jay Davis of Clare. Also surviving are many aunts, uncles, and cousins that will miss her dearly. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Dawn Wiggins of Muskegon, Harold Riggs of Harrison, and Carol Davis of Clare.

Rest in peace, Melinda

Credit to Stephenson-Wyman Funeral Home

Sarah Fraik

Shortly before her passing, Sarah had surgery to remove a tumor from her pituitary gland in the hopes of treating her Cushing’s Disease. She died on June 13, 2011 after a brief illness at the age of 28.

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Stacy Michalski (Ollenberger-Trask) in Memoriam

Born:  August 31, 1985

Passed:  November 4, 2015

This was written about Stacey by her sister to the Cushing’s community:

“This is my beautiful sister Stacy. She was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease in 2005 at the age of 19. She had two pituitary surgeries, radiation, and finally an Adrenalectomy. We watched her suffer, struggle, and fight this disease for ten years. There were countless doctors’ visits and pills she had to take daily until she passed away in her home on November 4, 2015 at the age of 30. We miss her so much!  She has left a hole in our hearts but we will continue to bring awareness to this horrible disease hoping we can save someone’s life…

Thank you so much for sharing this.  I think she struggled with the stigma of the disease. She was doing so much better but she passed suddenly of Adrenal Crisis. We were shocked. We truly believed that she had this beat! I know this group was so special to her. She even added me to it I think to help me understand what she was going through. You are all incredible amazing people to have the strength to battle through this every day.”

Credit to Mary Kelly O’Connor and Cushing’s-Help

*Legacy entries edited by Rachel Wilson