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Lights of Love at Phoebe Sumter Campus

This holiday season hope will shine brightly this holiday season at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, as we pay tribute to local cancer patients and their families with our own special Lights of Love tree. Lights will be lit in the thousands in honor and memory of loved ones, and donations to the beloved holiday event will benefit oncology patients receiving treatments at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.

Phoebe Sumter Tree Lighting Ceremony Date

• Main Hospital Entrance: Save the Date - December 12, 2024

Donate now to ensure patients are
able to stay local for treatment and care.

A symbolic light of love can be purchased for a suggested $25 each. Donations can be sent to Phoebe Sumter Foundation, 126 HWY 280 W, Americus, GA 31709. For questions and more information, please contact Phoebe Sumter Foundation at 229-931-1300. Lights of Love is more than a holiday event, it is a year-round project, and your gifts are welcome at any time.

2023 Tree Lighter, Glorla Simpson

Gloria Simpson just can’t stop working. “I’m always busy, and I love it.”

She has “retired” a couple of times from jobs in human resources and customer service, but retirement just never seems to take. These days, she works at The Sweet Spot, an Americus bakery owned by her daughter-in-law. “I cook the doughnuts and the doughnut holes. I make the best sweet potato pies,” she said. “We have cookies and any kind of cupcakes you would like.”

Gloria loves people and people love her. “All my jobs dealt with people,” she said. “When I go to the doctor’s office, the girls there say, ‘you know everybody. Is there anybody you don’t know?’”

That doctor’s office is Phoebe Hematology & Oncology of Americus where Gloria has been a regular patient since she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in 2010. Over those years, and because of her positive attitude and bubbly personality, she has become especially close with the staff there.

“Are you talking about my friends,” Gloria excitedly said when asked what the hematology/oncology team at Phoebe Sumter is like. “Amanda, Kelly, Becky – everybody there is wonderful. We’re just like family.”

Aplastic anemia is a rare but serious blood condition caused by damage to stem cells that prevents bone marrow from making enough new blood cells for your body to work normally.

“I take medication, and it helps, but I go every fourth week and take chemotherapy. I take two shots a day for five days. I’ve been doing that for maybe two years,” Gloria said.

She’s extremely grateful that she’s able to receive that care in Americus. “My appointments usually start at 8:30 in the morning. I leave home at 8:15,” Gloria said. “I love it. I’s so convenient.”

Dr. Jose Tongol, who treats patients at the Phoebe Cancer Center in Albany and at Phoebe Hematology & Oncology of Americus, diagnosed Gloria’s condition and has overseen her care ever since. She has developed the same kind of close relationship with him as she has with the rest of her care team in Americus.

“He has the right personality for the job he has. He doesn’t make you feel like you’re sick at all,” Gloria said. “I’ve been to restaurants to hear him play his music, and I’ve seen his artwork, and he likes it that my name is the same as his mother’s. He’s just my friend.”

Sometimes Gloria requires blood transfusions, and her care team is working toward a stem cell transplant. By mid-August, they had found several potential matches, and Gloria was receiving IV treatments to prepare her for a possible transplant. Gloria said, God is in control, and she is not afraid. “By faith, I know I am healed. I just have to go through the process.”

Throughout her health challenges, she has remained thankful for how well she is doing and optimistic about the future. “Even when I need a transfusion, I still feel good. I don’t really have any symptoms,” she said.  “My friends and family say I never complain, but what do I have to complain about?”

Gloria says those friends and family have been extremely supportive, and she is exceptionally grateful for the expert and compassionate care she gets at the clinic at Phoebe Sumter.

“It helps with the healing process when you go to a friendly environment,” she said. “They’re just wonderful. They’re as sweet as can be.”

Maybe even be as sweet as one of her famous pies. It just might be hard to choose which one is best. “I make the best pecan pies in the world,” she said. “And the key lime pies are to fight for.”

Gloria knows a thing or two about a good fight. With the help of the hematology and oncology team at Phoebe Sumter, her most important fight is one she knows she will win.