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Phoebe Worth Lights of Love Tree Lighter

Albany, Ga. – The Phoebe Foundation is excited to announce Shala Juster, a cancer patient from Worth County, has been named the honorary tree lighter for the 2020 Phoebe Worth Lights of Love ceremony. Often considered as the official kick-off of the holiday season, the ceremony will be held Tuesday, December 1, at 7 p.m. on the hospital campus.

Before Shala was diagnosed with cancer, she says she knew something wasn’t right. She had extreme nausea and a dull, constant pain in her back that eventually sent her to the Phoebe Worth Emergency Center. There, Shala met Dr. Derebail, who she said took the time to really listen to her and left no stone unturned trying to find out what was ailing her.

After multiple doctor appointments, Shala finally learned her diagnosis. “I found out on April 10th (2019) that I have follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is more like a chronic illness, because it’s incurable. It’s not really if it returns, it’s just when,” explained Shala.

Shala holds on tight to her faith and believes the Lord has her right where she needs to be—surrounded by love and under the care of the exceptional oncology team at Phoebe. She’s never lost hope and is always eager to share what she has learned through her cancer journey.

“Number one is be your biggest advocate; you know your body,” said Shala. “Connect with other people who have walked this road, because that definitely makes it easier.

The other honorary tree lighters are Monique Wilson, of Albany, at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, and Robert Thomas, of Sumter County, at Phoebe Sumter. Their stories of hope, along with Shala’s, can be found by visiting

Started in 1983 by the Junior Woman’s Club of Albany, Lights of Love has since raised more than $1 million for cancer services and patients at Phoebe Cancer Center. The Lights of Love trees are special for their symbolic white lights in memory and honor of individuals. For each light purchased for a suggested $25 donation, a card is sent to those honored or to family members. To donate, call (229) 312-GIVE or visit

The public is welcome to the Lights of Love ceremony at Phoebe Worth Medical Center in Sylvester on December 1 at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Phoebe Foundation at 229-312-4483.