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The Powerful Legacy of Jennifer Bush-Lawson

How one mother’s love will continue to save and change young lives far into the future

Jennifer Lawson understood the challenges and fears that many pregnant women face because she had personally experienced three very difficult pregnancies that included gestational diabetes, hypertension, and premature deliveries.
Jennifer was fortunate to have had access to high-quality care and first-rate doctors, so she and her children enjoyed positive outcomes from her pregnancy complications, unlike many thousands of expectant mothers in our community who are low-income or uninsured.
So when this devoted wife and mother of three died in a tragic accident, her husband, Neal Lawson, founded the Jennifer Bush- Lawson Foundation (JB-LF) in her memory. The Foundation helps mothers and vulnerable newborns at the Hospital's Arlington Pediatric Center (APC) and provides prenatal and postpartum care services for women at the Hospital's outpatient clinic for low-income and uninsured patients.
“Jenn dedicated her life to her children and to being the best mother possible. She believed that every mother—regardless of race, color, creed, or economic status—should have an opportunity to do the same,” Neal says.
Since the launch of the JB-LF on February 24, 2015—the anniversary of Jennifer’s passing—the foundation has raised more than $100,000 and served many mothers and infants who were in need of help and hope.

Bronchial Thermoplasty — A Breakthrough Therapy

Tony suffered from asthma all his life. From the time he was 3-years-old, emergency room visits and 8-hour stretches in an oxygen tent were common. Later, when he was properly diagnosed, Tony embraced the inhalers and treatments that were supposed to give him a normal life. But time and again, Tony found himself in the ER or doctor’s office, desperate just to breathe. By the time he’d reached his mid 40’s, his asthma was so bad he could no longer sleep or hold down a job. “I was miserable and didn’t think I would make it to my 50th birthday,” Tony says.
Odds are that you know someone who suffers from asthma, especially since the disease is one of the most common and costly diseases in the world, affecting as many as 20 million Americans. Consider this: each year there are 13.6 million unscheduled office visits and 1.8 million emergency room visits, many of which lead to hospitalization . . . and many thousands of deaths.
So it was a time of celebration when Virginia Hospital Center announced in May 2010 that it would be the first hospital in the United States to offer a new procedure for severe asthma patients, known as bronchial thermoplasty. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this new procedure is intended for people whose asthma is not well controlled with inhalers and other medicines.
“We were honored to be the first hospital offering this revolutionary new procedure to adults suffering from severe asthma in the DC Metro area,” says Dr. David R. Duhamel, Director of Pulmonary Special Procedures and the Lung Cancer Center at Virginia promising tool in the arsenal that has the potential to reduce hospital visits, out-of-pocket healthcare costs, and days missed from work. This definitive intervention provides a long-term benefit to adult asthma patients and significantly improves the quality of life for those suffering from this chronic condition.”
At Virginia Hospital Center, Tony was the first patient post-FDA approval to undergo bronchial thermoplasty, and in just three painless procedures he experienced normal lung function which has completely transformed his life.
“Asthma felt like a knife jabbing in my chest,” Tony says. “After the first procedure, I felt fantastic right away. I wasn’t tired, sick, or wheezing. So I started running and got faster and faster. I lost 40-50 pounds, and then started placing at the top in local races."
“I haven’t missed a day of work in five years,” Tony says with a smile. “I love Dr. Duhamel and Dr. Hales, my pulmonologists, and all their staff, and everyone at Virginia Hospital Center. They are all just the best people in the world, and I owe them my life. Every morning I get up and pray that they have the greatest day. And I have donated to the Hospital to defray the costs for other asthmatics. I’m not a wealthy guy, but I just felt I had to so that they too could live the life I’m living.”

Since May 2010, 250 men and women have successfully undergone bronchial thermoplasty and are today living lives they had never dared to dream of.

Thank you for your gifts to Virginia Hospital Center that keep us on the cutting edge of medical excellence!

Help and Hope for Those Battling Cancer

Virginia Hospital Center is launching a new Cancer Survivorship Program

The day June heard the words, “You’ve got cancer,” was a tough day. She knew surgery and chemo would be painful and frightening, but nothing could have prepared her for how overwhelming the process was, how many providers would be involved, and how many appointments she would have to keep. For years.
Virginia Hospital Center knows the difficulties people face as they struggle physically and emotionally to beat the disease while navigating a complex bureaucracy and overcoming barriers that can include transportation and legal and financial issues.
That’s why we are pleased to announce that a new Cancer Survivorship Program is being launched and will include five core components—

  • Prevention of recurrent and new cancers and other late effects Surveillance for cancer spread, recurrence, or second cancers
  • Assessment of medical and psychosocial late effects
  • Intervention for consequences of cancer and its treatment
  • Coordination between specialists and primary care providers

The Hospital is committed to the health and well-being of every patient, and our new Cancer Survivorship Program will allow us to go the extra mile to ensure that the health needs of every cancer survivor are met. “It’s good to know you’re not alone when going through cancer and all the treatment that comes with it!” June says with a smile.

Special thanks to our friends and supporters whose generosity and compassion is making one of the life’s most difficult journeys a little easier for patients and caregivers!

Gigi’s Legacy— A Gift That Keeps on Giving

Georgiana “Gigi” Gordon knew all too well the hard road that patients must travel as they recover from injuries to the hip and other lower extremities, including pelvic stress fractures. After being stricken with Guillian-Barré Syndrome in 1979, Gigi was initially unable to walk. Through rehabilitation, she eventually recovered a limited ability to walk, and with it, a passion for bringing the state-of-the-art aquatic therapy to Virginia Hospital Center and our community.
In 2014, the Hospital launched a new Aquatic Therapy program at our South Campus on Carlin Springs Road, thanks to a generous bequest from Gigi’s estate. The new above-ground aquatic therapy pool features an underwater treadmill, hydro massage, resistance jets, and an underwater camera for diagnostics. It is used primarily for orthopedic patients undergoing physical therapy and is the first hospital-based program in Northern Virginia.
“Through Gigi’s estate, she was able to leave a legacy of access to this innovative, healing therapy for other patients for years to come,” says Gigi’s attorney, Kelly Thompson. “I know she would be very proud to see her vision become a reality.”
Have you remembered Virginia Hospital Center in your will? Your financial support and estate giving can, like Gigi, give a gift that keeps on giving the gift of health to future generations!
For more information, contact Michele Werner, 703.558.5476, MWerner@virginiahospitalcenter.com


APC Access

APC’s mission is to provide quality, compassionate outpatient medical care to low-income and uninsured children living in Arlington County.


Virginia Hospital Center Foundation's newsletter, Cornerstone, is dedicated to sharing our tradition of philanthropy at Virginia Hospital Center.

Galen Gazette

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