We dedicate this Memorial Photo Gallery to our beloved LMS Angels, who have earned their wings and watch over us from the Heavens above.
If you would like to add a loved one to the LMS Angels – Memorial Photo Gallery or make updates with additional photos, please send us an email at [email protected] and include a photo as well as written copy, whether it be a couple sentences or a couple paragraphs.
Mini Ramirez November 4, 2018
Leiomyosarcoma decided to join our family in January 2015. Just like everyone else’s story it showed up unannounced and of course not welcomed.
My mom, Mini was a very beautiful person inside and out. Everyone’s mother is, and I do not doubt it or take it anyway from anyone, however this is a story about my Mom, My Hero and the strongest person I have ever met. On November 4, 1970 I was the luckiest baby in the world. I was born and God had just given me the most kindhearted, the most beautiful and loving mother ever. I heard her heartbeat for nine months, felt her tenderness and love from the very start. Sadly, on November 4, 2018 (48 years to the date) she became my Guardian Angel forever.
January 2015 mom went in for a CT scan of abdomen because for about a year she had been having continuous abdominal pain, etc. After many doctor appts and ultrasounds, it was decided to do a CT Scan. That scan unfortunately came back showing a 7.5 cm tumor and a biopsy was scheduled a week later. In February, that biopsy came back as LMS. Of course, we were all taken back by this news. I worked for a Plastic Surgeon who had just retired, and I gave him a call right away, so that he could give me the best doctor around. He sent us to see one of the best at Loyola, Dr. Constantine Godellas, Oncology Surgeon. And this is when our journey began. I say “our” because she was not alone at all. Myself, my Stepdad, my children, my grandmother, the whole entire family was together for this. She was never alone. Dr. Godellas recommended she do Radiation first to try and shrink or stabilize the tumor before he would go in to remove it. This tumor was almost 8cm and laying very close to her pancreas. The doctor was in contact with many colleagues regarding moms case, because we all know how rare this is and because he wanted her to have the best care. Mom had another CT and MRI to mold the tumor and get her prepared for radiation.
Radiation started on March 12,2015. This was 5 days a week for 5 weeks. Rest for 3 weeks and then Surgery. We all took turns going with her to radiation and she did great. At the end of 5 weeks she rang that Bell!! We were all so proud of her and everyone surprised her in the waiting room when she came out with balloons and lots of love. Mind you radiation made her queezy and feeling off balanced, tired and a bit nauseated. Surgery was scheduled for May 22, 2015. Dr. Godellas explained to us that if everything was fine he would just be removing the tumor, however there could be a possibility of a Whipple procedure (which means remove her stomach, pancreas, and colon). Surgery went well and she only needed part of her colon to be removed as it was attaching to it. The tumor was removed. She stood in the hospital for a week, and by day 2 she was up and walking around. Is she a warrior or what?! By the time her post op appt came, we were given the news she was free of tumor. Tears of joy!!!!
Mom was up and living her best life again. As she should.
April 2017, LMS decided to show up again. But this time several tumors in her liver and one big one on top of her liver. And this is when the Chemo began. Mom tried several Chemo therapies, holistics, pills form, you name it she tried it. None seem to work. But she didn’t give up. She traveled to Mayo clinic, Texas Cancer Centers, anywhere and everywhere. So she continued to live her best life. She traveled to places she always wanted to go, on trips all over the world. This was not going to stop her. It started getting worse and there was nothing that could be done, as her small frame was being taken over by this huge tumor. Mom changed her lifestyle as far a food too, she became vegan. Medical cannabis and for the pain. My beautiful mom was losing, but not because she gave up. Because she NEVER gave up.
I would tell my mom how I wished I could take this from her and it be given to me. She would get upset and tell me “Don’t you ever say that again”! I don’t wish this on my worst enemy. (she had no enemies). All through this journey, she never complained, woke up everyday and thanked God for another day, she was still very optimistic and had faith and hope until the very end. She fought the biggest and hardest battle of her life. It broke my heart as well as my family’s heart to see her going through this. We can not say that in the end she lost. Because saying she lost is like saying she did something wrong, and she didn’t. All of us had Cancer with her, because it didn’t only affect her, it affected us all. We all fought with her everyday.
My mom is my Hero, a Legend and the Matriarch of our whole family. It has been rough without her. I am a strong believer that she is still with us all. Whenever I need her, I know she places my head on her lap, holds me close, kisses my cheek, wipes my tears and tells me it’s going to be ok. I long to hug her and kiss her. She is an Angel in the shape of my Mom!
I miss you and Love you so very much mom. Thank you for being the person you were. I only hope that one day I will be half the woman you were and continue to make you proud.
P.s. On March 1, 2019, I found out that I am going to be a Grandma for the first time. My daughter is due on my Birthday. So, Thank you mom! I know that was you.
I leave you all with this: Never give up. Live your best life ever. Fight as hard as you can. Love with all you have. Although there may not be a cure at the moment, LMS is strong………but you are stronger!
Silvana Corrente 04–7-2018 BIO
Laura Ann Parks Carr, 66, of Topeka, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, on August 23, 2017. She was born January 20, 1951 in Memphis, Tennessee, daughter of Robert G. and Mary Lu (Bodkin) Parks.
Born with an inclusive and open spirit, Laura made lifelong friendships wherever she lived. She graduated from Webster Groves High School in Webster Groves, Missouri in 1969. Her passion for learning led her to the University of Kansas, where she began her enduring past time of cheering on the Jayhawks, joined the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and received her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology. She married Neil M. Carr on Dec. 27, 1975 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Laura derived great joy in her profession as a speech-language pathologist through her retirement from USD 501 in 2013. Always curious, she loved the journey of learning and helping children achieve communication skills for success in school and life. Students and their families will fondly remember Laura as their wise and caring speech therapist. The ultimate volunteer, she lent her many gifts to Topeka public schools, First Congregational Church, and the Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Laura made every moment count and everybody count in those moments. She was thoughtful and generous, known for her encouraging notes, available presence, and detailed touches that made life with her extra special.
Life was a joy for Laura. She had an easy laugh, an infectious sense of humor and delighted in sharing a good story. Instinctively understanding of others, fiercely loyal, and incredibly inspirational, it was a gift to know the kindness and greatness of her love. Hers was a life of impact and strength to many people, but she would readily say that her most treasured accomplishments were raising her three children with her husband and welcoming her grandsons into the world. She loved her family and they loved her.
Laura is survived by her husband of 42 years, Dr. Neil Carr of Topeka; daughter, Meredith Carr; sons, Alex (Jamie) and Phillip Carr; and two grandsons, Owen and Aiden Carr, all of Kansas City. Additional survivors include her two sisters, Marty (Pat) Colwell of Waterloo, Iowa, and Mary (Jeff) Stier of Des Moines, Iowa; two sisters-in-law, Pam (Chuck) Sourk of Scott City, Kansas, and Karen Morrison of Colby, Kansas, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
Steven Mark Blair, 61, of Marion, Iowa. Date of death 4/25/2016 Cause: Leiomyosarcoma.
Steve was born October 28, 1954, to John and Rachel (Cooper) Blair in Uravan, Colorado. He was a 1972 graduate of Nucla High School in Colorado, where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball. He attended the Colorado School of Mines on a baseball scholarship. Steve then received his B.S. Degree in Electrical Engineering & Computer Software from the University of Iowa and in 1984 began his engineering career at Rockwell Collins. Steve was instrumental in the development of the ARC-210 radio for Rockwell Collins for which he was awarded Engineer of the Year. Steve worked on many communication radios for Rockwell including ARC-182, Talon, and ARC-210 Next Gen. He loved engineering and was mentoring younger engineers in the last few years of his life. His hobbies were golf, woodworking, traveling and reading.
He was a high school graduate from Eastwood High School in El Paso, Texas. He played the saxophone and was in the marching band all 4 years. A week after his graduation from U.T.E.P. (University of Texas in El Paso), my son was on his way to Atlanta City to work for the Golden Key National Honor Society. James was an honor top 10 graduate and had been the President of the Golden Key National Honor Society as a student. After a few years, there was an opportunity for a position as Director of Asia Pacific & South African Operations for the Golden Key International Honor Society in Sydney, Australia. He worked for the Golden Key National Honor society for 8 years, June 1995-May 2003. After his resignation from the Golden Key Honor Society, he acquired permission to stay in Australia and married his wife in 2007. They moved to Adelaide where his wife’s parents lived, to buy a home and plan for a family.
He had various jobs and he excelled in all of them:
GM Marketing & Development (Nerl Sachse Foundation); Certified Practicing Marketer Australian Marketing Institute, Australia, U.S.A., New Zealand, South Africa, and Malaysia, National Dealer Marketing Specialist at Renault Australia; Brand Strategist and Principal Consultant Adelaide, Australia; Director of Marketing & External Relations-Australia; News LTD, Account Manager, and General Manager-Bespoke Marketing (Rolls Royce, BMW, Minni…) Trivett Group in Sydney, Australia.
After a visit to El Paso, Texas, for my Mother’s Day surprise (he felt ill) he left to work in Canada where he felt a lump in his abdomen (extend and retrieve) when he coughed. He called his wife in Australia, and upon his arrival, he had a doctor’s appointment and was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma. Surgery was scheduled and so was my trip to Australia, within the week. He was given all the worst and best results that could happen and his operation was performed. An 8-10 pound tumor was removed and divided among various hospitals and research agencies, associations, etc., in Australia. I returned to the USA and made arrangements to be in Australia for a while.
Six months was his sentence, so my younger son and I traveled to Australia for approximately six and a half months. We stayed in Adelaide with her parents, and my son and his wife in their home. My son volunteered for trials of treatments that were offered, as he wanted a cure or medications that could provide longer life for himself and others. We returned home in February 18. He lived 3 years and 5 months total from his first surgery until his time of almost two weeks in hospice. The biggest present that God provided was a child, a little girl, which he was able to hold and know for 6 months.
He also worked for Carnegie Mellon University. While his last day of actual work was in early 2011, CMU generously kept him employed until 2012 (6 months) – but were understandably unable to maintain him indefinitely. In January, it also became clear that he was unable to resume rigorous international travel to developing countries for recruitment and business development, which was a major facet of his role. Therefore, he and CMU agreed to terminate his employment because he was unable to commit to a return date or execute the responsibilities of his role. His departure was on the very best of terms.
James was born on February 1, 1971 and passed away on February 16, 2015, in Adelaide, Australia, at the age of 44. The following is a letter that James wrote to us, his family and friends:
Friends and Family … it is not easy to put into words what the CT Scan results showed as it is never a black and white process. In summary, the scan was not as bad as I thought it might be given I haven’t had treatment for the cancer in over 3 months. But it clearly showed growth – on average about 10 percent from the previous scan six weeks ago.
However, combined with blood tests also taken today, it is clear that my liver and kidneys have taken a beating and are starting to show signs of failure. When you add that to my weak heart, it does not paint a pretty picture. In short, there is a very narrow window where the very last type of chemo is available for me to try.
But it is like standing at the edge of a precipice in many ways. A reaction to the chemo could cause a downward spiral of reactions that I could not recover from … and yet in some singular cases with my specific cancer, it has shown promising signs of holding back the cancer’s growth. Doing nothing is also an option – and the safest option as it does no harm. The cancer is not growing at an alarming rate, nor is it currently growing in areas that would cause a life threatening scenario. So this too is an option – and the recommended option on paper.
You can see that my wife and I have a lot of thinking to do over the next several days – and I have a lot of praying to do, too. I ask all of you to keep us in prayer that we might be given the wisdom, knowledge, and discernment to make the right decision for my wife, child, and I.
Either way, we are at a point where this careful balance will someday tip in one direction, causing a domino effect that will lead to the inevitable.
God has granted me more wishes and dreams to come true than may of you will ever know. But to see my baby’s first Christmas was a big one – and thank God I WILL get to experience that with my wife and child. I hope to make it to her first birthday, but that is as everything – in God’s hands.
Ultimately, the choice is not really mine to make – but I need to ensure that the choice is one that my wife and I are both prepared for either way. If we choose chemo, it would be given overnight on the 22nd, with me coming out of the hospital on the 23rd of December. If there are to be any severe consequences, they would be known immediately on the 22nd. And putting off the chemo further than that is not an option, unfortunately.
So again, I ask you for your prayers, your positive thoughts and energy as we make what seems like the most significant decision in our lives in regards to my treatment at this point in time.
I still believe in miracles. I am one. My gorgeous daughter is one. And I married a woman I don’t deserve but could not do this without. Miracles are all around me … how can I not believe that they are still possible?
In God’s hands, anything this possible. But it is in His plan that I have to trust … and I trust that I will continue to be blessed by miracles.
And if you look around, I think you’ll find some of your own. Believe.
His bright smile gave us encouragement as he fought LMS. He fought a difficult battle but did it with grace.
Amanda Sue Murphy Barr (“Many”) was born October 22, 1979 and passed away May 3, 2007. She was an amazing field hockey and lacross player and was even an All American for them. She was married to the most wonderful man named Kevin. Kevin and Many were huge Bruce Springsteen fans traveling all around to see one of his shows. She always lived every day to the fullest and never wanted anyone to feel bad for what she was going through. She always had a camera in her hand taking pictures of her nieces and nephews and never missed their games. Many was the youngest of eight children. She was one of the strongest and most caring people I have ever known and she lived more life in her 27 years than most do in a lifetime. I could go on forever telling you how much she meant to us and how we have such a huge void without her but I know she is watching us and wanting us to live as she did, always seeing the good in everyone around her. Here is a quote from her husband on our site. “She never complained, ever! She faced everything with her beautiful smile intact.” Which I think really sums everything up.
Dr. Melvin K. Bottorff, a physician and community health care advocate, passed away on November 2, 2007 after a courageous battle with Leiomyosarcoma, a rare soft tissue Cancer. He was 72.
Mel cared deeply about his patients and was the first to welcome over eight thousand new East Texas babies into the World as an OB/GYN physician. As Director of the Jasper Newton Public Health Department he helped expand community health care access for East Texas’ indigent, rural, and elderly citizens; organized mass immunizations programs targeting thousands of schoolchildren; and came out of retirement in 2005 to volunteer his services to hundreds of Sam Rayburn Lake’s Katrina evacuees in need of health care assistance.
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1935, he is the son of the late Dr. Melvin K. Bottorff, Sr. and Elizabeth (Jim) Bottorff of Lake Village, Arkansas. His grandfather Dr. E.P. McGehee founded the Lake Village Clinic in 1912, the first health care facility in the Mississippi Delta region and Arkansas’ first air-conditioned hospital. His father Dr. Melvin Bottorff, Sr. also practiced at the Clinic and was Chief Physician for the Civilian Conservation Corps. in Arkansas.
Gone yet not forgotten,
My mother leaves behind 3 daughters and one son, and 6 grandchildren, all of whom dearly love her and sorely miss her. We celebrated her 56th birthday with a huge celebration just 3 days before she died. We were fortunate to be able to give her the gift of dying at home surrounded by her friends and family. My mother was a spunky, fun lady with a great sense of humor. She cared for everyone and received lots of love in return. She was taken from us way too soon… we love you forever and miss you so much Mommy…
2 children-Savanna and Sierra.
EMT and dispatcher
Diagnosed in March 31, 2016
Passed away Nov. 18, 2016
Christine became an LMS Angel on July 8, 2011.Christine was diagnosed with this horrible disease in June of 2008. She fought this disease with dignity and determination. She had non-stop chemotherapy treatments along with brain surgery over the three year period. She was quoted by her friends and family saying.. “This cancer has control of my body, but it is not going to dictate how I live my life.”She traveled as much as she could during her illness and continued to work until 2 months before she passed away. A friend of hers told her one time that it was a beautiful day. Christine responded by saying..”Every day is a beautiful day.”She loved life, people, animals, and nature. She was a wife beyond words. She was a dedicated mother to 2 boys. She loved her family and touched so many friends. Even during her illness she helped other people who were sick as well. Christine was the epitome of inspiration, class, and dignity!On July 8, 2011, God saw she was getting tired and a cure was not to be. So he put his arms around her and whispered “come with me.” A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands at rest. God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best!
Gwendolyn Kay McDaniel
Gwen was a proud mother, wonderful daughter, loving sister and amazing grandmother and beloved wife to Mike for forty years. Mike attributes much of his professional success to her unwavering support of his career. Gwen worked for a number of years as a Special Education Assistant at Slaughter Elementary School. Since Mike retired, she has worked alongside him in their McDaniel’s Millennium Farm business, making home-made products for a local farmer’s market. In the past few years she has also taken her passion for baked goods and canning and turned it into a local enterprise selling at businesses in the area. Gwen dearly loved her children and grandchildren, which were her passion, and enjoyed many friendships she developed over the years. Gwen was known for having a heart of gold and mowing the lawn like Mario Andretti. Gwen fought a heroic battle with leiomyosarcoma cancer, always with grace and courage.
She will be missed by all who knew her.
My Special Angel:
You are gone, yet you are everywhere. Everything I see around our home has a memory of you attached to it. I wish I had your strength so that I could better cope with your loss. I love you and I miss you so much. You are my hero. You were so courageous in the way you dealt with your cancer. I will tell the grandkids that even though you’re gone, you are now an angel looking over them and that you will always be with them in their hearts. –Mike-