TRAFFIC Detours and Parking Updates around Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

Make an Appointment

2023 Lights of Love Tree Lighter for Phoebe Worth Announced

Sylvester, GA | November 14, 2023 – The Phoebe Foundation will kick off the holiday season in Sylvester with its annual Lights of Love tree lighting ceremony, a beloved fundraiser for cancer patients and families in southwest Georgia. The Gibson Family, of Sylvester, has been named the honorary tree lighters for Phoebe Worth at the November 28 ceremony to be held on the hospital campus.

The Gibson Family home is full of energy and there is never a boring moment. Brandon and Sydney Gibson are parents to four very active boys – Gavin, Corin, Leytin and Dallin – who range in age from one to eight. And they’re expecting a fifth son in January.

“I thought there would at least be one girl in there,” Sydney said.  “We always knew we wanted a big family.  The shock is just they’re all boys.”

Three years ago, the couple started noticing unusual swelling and bruising around Corin’s left eye.  Eventually, he ended up at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Egleston Hospital where doctors determined he had tumors throughout his head. They diagnosed Corin with acute myeloid leukemia and told the young parents their little boy’s chances of survival were less than 15 percent.

“I already had a feeling that it was bad, but to actually be told that your kid has cancer and it doesn’t look good – it was hard,” Sydney said.

To make matters worse, the diagnosis came in the early months of the COVID pandemic, and the Gibsons couldn’t have any family with them in the hospital.  They ended up leaning on other families at Egleston who were going through similar challenges.

Initially, Corin went through five rounds of extremely intense chemotherapy.  “With other types of cancer, they typically get their treatment and go home.  He would get more chemo than an adult would, and he couldn’t be around anyone.  He would stay in the hospital for months at a time,” Sydney said.

She would travel back and forth from Sylvester to Atlanta to continue working as a labor and delivery nurse at Phoebe in Albany while Brandon stayed with Corin.  On Christmas Day 2020, Corin went into heart failure and nearly died.  He survived the difficult treatments and went into remission, but the cancer returned.  He had to go through more chemotherapy, then radiation and ultimately a bone marrow transplant.

“Seeing him like that was tough and scary.  We would go to sleep every night and think, ‘will he wake up the next day,” Sydney said.

Corin was in the hospital most of the time between September 2020 and July 2022. When Corin was able to come home, he would get a big welcome.  “The first time Corin came home from treatment, he had his own parade.  Almost every time we were home, something special would happen for him,” Sydney said.

Neighbors threw Corin his own Christmas parade one year.  And when he couldn’t go out on Halloween, the community organized a drive-by trick-or-treating event that collected so much candy, the Gibsons took bags of it back to Egleston for the other cancer patients.  The love the Gibsons have felt from their tight-knit community and the support from their family have been invaluable.

“You can’t ask for better people,” Sydney said.  “I loved it, just knowing that your community is there to support you,” Brandon added.

This year, Corin was able to go to school for the first time.  He’s feeling good and making friends and enjoying having the strength to keep up with his brothers.  “He’s doing great,” his dad said.

Despite all they’ve been through, Brandon and Sydney are optimistic and grateful, and they want everyone to know how much their support can mean to families dealing with cancer. “We’re just thankful to still have him here.  At one point we didn’t know if we would make it this far.  We definitely want to give back and use his face to show what cancer looks like,” Sydney said.  “We’re just thankful for everything.”

The other honorary tree lighters are the Garner Family, of Albany, at Phoebe Cancer Center and Gloria Simpson, of Americus, at Phoebe Sumter. They will join family, friends, and the public during special ceremonies on each respective campus.  Their stories of hope, along with the Gibson’s, can be found by visiting

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. A symbolic light of love can be purchased for a suggested $25. To donate, call (229) 312-4483 or visit

The public is invited to the Lights of Love ceremony which will be held on Phoebe Worth’s campus in Sylvester on Tuesday, November 28 at 7 p.m.