by Sandra Lee Buxton
When Thelma Lyon enters a room you immediately know that she is “in the house.” A big smile, warm greetings for everyone, a splash of humor and news to share. Thelma loves life and hopes that everyone else does too. Generous by nature, her recent gift to Avow is one example of her good works. When asked the question: why this and why Avow her response was simple. Thelma was looking for a place to belong, somewhere with purpose, shared values and sense of community, she found it all at Avow. Thelma loves being a part of something bigger that herself. She definitely cares and shares, she is a member of the Avow Women’s Board and happily joins with her peers watching the Palliative Care Center become a reality. Palliative
care is not a new concept but one that not everyone is familiar with.
A short synopsis is that medical care and oversight is provided for those with chronic conditions and serious illness. A team approach is used in treating the pediatric and adult patient which will include the doctor, a social worker, Chaplain and Registered Nurse Practitioner. Receiving the palliative care service does not mean that the patients need to abandon their primary care physician, in fact that relationship must continue. The two story palliative care center on the Avow campus is in the aggressive building stage. Expected completion is late fall 2016, the center will have space for the palliative care team and offers clinical space to see their patients. A real bonus for the community is that educational presentation can be provided on-site in the same building. It is important to note that Avow currently provides palliative care, the Center will then become the hub of that specialty.
Thelma herself is a fun and engaging conversationalist with a positive outlook and an interesting background. In her professional
life she worked as a clinical social worker but also has a Masters of Divinity, and she did serve for a time as a Chaplain. Although she was born in Texas, once married she lived in the Northeast in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Her now deceased husband was a rocket scientist, yes it’s true, and they had a glorious life together. They raised two successful children, a son and a daughter and for years Thelma felt that she “had it all.” When her husband became terminal she had to learn “the new normal” and adjust while determined to make each day count. She celebrated each day then just as she does now.
Thelma gives credit to many people who have helped her on her journey in life but is especially grateful for the mentoring that her
good friend Parker Collier provided. Thelma’s life has been one of gratitude so her gift to Avow is not really surprising, as she wants to make a difference in people’s life now just as she did during her professional career. She naturally offers words of kindness and encouragement to others daily to friends as well as strangers. She also stresses the importance of letting people know how much you enjoy them and how much they mean to you while you’re healthy enough to share it and in turn they’re healthy enough to receive it.
Important words of wisdom from Thelma, “live until you die.” Now let’s get going and keep up with Thelma!
Sandra Lee Buxton,
I had heard of the inimitable Thelma Lyons from Maureen Leahy
Such an inspiration!
I do have a secret desire to imitate.
I am Hoping to take Rev Harper’s chaplaincy course at NCH in October.
She is in Fort Meyers till Saturday