Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe asks area residents to wear turquoise ribbon on June 18th to stand with those suffering from Lymphedema

June 9, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn.– Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) today asked area citizens to join him in observing Lymphedema Awareness Day by wearing a turquoise ribbon on Wednesday, June 18 in solidarity with those who suffer from the disease.    This year’s observance marks the sixth annual Tennessee Lymphedema Awareness Day as a result of legislation sponsored by Crowe in 2009 and 2013 to bring awareness to the condition.

Senator Crowe also sponsored the resolution to honor the memory of the late Thomas Hovatter of Johnson City, whose wife Jennifer continues in her quest to bring more treatment options to Lymphedema patients in the tri-cities area.  The day of recognition will be followed by an event on Saturday, June 21, which will be held at the Harvest Time Baptist Church, 2404 Roseberry Lane in Johnson City from 1:00 to 5:00 pm which is open to the public.

“I was very touched by Jennifer Hovatter’s efforts to spread awareness of this disease as a result of her husband’s death,” said Senator Crowe.  “I am especially touched by her commitment to widen treatment options for patients in our area who suffer since early treatment of this disease can help deter suffering, additional complications, or early death.  Since I introduced this resolution to help bring awareness to the disease, I have had calls from many citizens who suffer from Lymphedema and the families who support them. I hope there will be many citizens who turn out to support efforts to help those who suffer from this disease.”

Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid that causes swelling in the arms, legs, or other areas of the body.  The first type of lymphedema is genetic and can occur anytime, causing a severe financial, physical, and psychological impact on patients.  The more common cause of the disease, however, is the result of a surgery or injury.  The single largest group of people who get lymphedema are cancer patients, including breast, prostate, gynecological, head, neck, lung, sarcoma, and melanoma patients.  The swelling caused by lymphedema can lead to severe infection, loss of the use of limbs or death.

“Research and treatment options are desperately needed to address lymphedema.  We hope by raising awareness for this condition, it will spur action to find a cure,” Crowe concluded.

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