Anna – Always in our Hearts

Anna Asher Lester was a beautiful daughter, sister, wife and friend. On April 14, 2009, her life changed forever. After a few weeks of progressively worsening headaches and nausea, Anna had a massive seizure while in the ER of a local hospital. Had she not been in the ER at the time, this story would be much shorter because she would not have survived it. The devastating diagnosis came the next morning: inoperable (due to the location of the tumor) glioblastoma. She had been to several different doctors in the previous days but none of them thought to look for a brain tumor in an otherwise healthy, very active 29-year old woman. Anna was on life support for 4 days and I am convinced that it was through the power of prayer that she was able to walk out of the hospital 8 days later. However, the tumor and the seizure had taken their toll and there were residual mental and physical effects. Anna was just beginning her career as an attorney – her lifelong dream and a job she adored. On that fateful day her dream was cut short and she was robbed of something she had worked so hard to achieve.

Despite such a devastating diagnosis Anna faced her battle with the utmost dignity and grace. She never complained about going to her treatments and but easily made friends with all of the nurses in the infusion center where she spent A LOT of time. Anna endured many trials throughout her fight. Her insurance company refused to pay for her Temodar capsules so she endured daily infusions instead. Losing her livelihood placed a huge financial burden on her and her husband. Not being able to return to her profession was extremely frustrating for her.

Anna’s family and friends rallied behind her and offered support throughout her journey. We were blessed to have a family and friends who came together to ensure that she had everything she needed. We also packed “a lot of living” into the 19 months that she was sick.and a lot of wonderful memories were made.

Anna endured many trials throughout her fight. Her insurance company refused to pay for her Temodar capsules so she endured daily infusions instead. Losing her livelihood placed a huge financial burden on her and her husband. Not being able to return to her profession was extremely frustrating for her. But throughout it all she remained a beautiful example of dignity and grace. She was more worried about her family than she was about herself.

Unfortunately the one thing that we all wanted was not possible – a cure for her cancer. On November 15, 2010, Anna lost the battle that she so valiantly waged.. As her mother, I miss her more than I will ever find the words to say. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her – often with a smile or a chuckle but frequently with tears.

Glioblastoma does not discriminate based on age or any other demographic. It is now my passion to foster brain tumor awareness and to raise money to fund research to find a cure for brain tumors. My goal is to prevent other families from being devastated by brain tumors. My husband and I participate in the Race for Hope each year, a special event for us because Anna was able to walk with us during our first time in 2010. We volunteer at other National Brain Tumor Association events in Charlotte, NC, and Charleston, SC. We have even participated with The Brain Tumour Charity in the UK by walking in the Twilight Walk in Warwick, England. We also participate in Head to the Hill to inform our Congressmen about brain tumors and what they can do to help defeat this nasty disease.

Anna, We will always remember your infectious smile, your beautiful blue eyes and your feisty personality. You will live forever in our hearts. You will never be forgotton. Love, Mom.

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