Posted by: Guest Blogger N. Lois Adams, President/CEO Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy
It is with the greatest sadness that I am telling you about the loss of my dear “adopted niece,” Erin Phillips. She was a part of my life for almost all of her 30 years.
She was the reason that we started the Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy in Orlando. She was a baby who had been dropped from her insurance and needed a special preparation. When the manufacturer would not lower the price to one that was reasonable, I went into our lab and formulated it in our pharmacy. We made it available to the clinics in Florida and then to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and to Duke University in N.C. where Erin was a patient.
Her grandmother (Grandma Bev) became my closest friend and finally agreed to have an office at our facility. It was not long before physicians were sending patients to our pharmacy to help them as well. That was the start of the Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy, Inc. in 1984. Now we send medications all over the world… Erin was the inspiration for all of that!
Erin was a wonderfully talented and bright young lady who not only did well in school, but was also a top, high school athlete in cross country, basketball, soccer and track. After attending Appalachian State University, she eventually moved to Florida. Erin came to work for us and was our face on social media, created advertising materials and website information, and was a participant in functions for the Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy, as well as the sister pharmacy – Freedom Pharmacy and Wellness Center. She even helped with our Center for Memory Disorders, plus many other activities.
She was also the inspiration for our contributing to the establishment of the Cystic Fibrosis Wing at Winter Park Hospital in Florida. This wing had special accommodations for families of CFers during their many hospitalizations.
Throughout Erin’s life, I got to know her amazing family. Her grandmother Beverley Donelson and I worked side-by-side for 30 years helping CF patients. Bev knew thousands of the U.S. and worldwide patients with CF. They wanted to be her friend & she was there for so many of them.
During July 2012, Erin had to have a lung transplant. She was hospitalized for only nine days when her wonderful pulmonologist, Dr. Daniel Layish, arranged for her to receive a double lung transplant at the Mayo Hospital in Jacksonville, FL. She did amazingly well after that and had a new lease on life. She did so many inspiring things; such as climbed a 14,000 ft. mountain to aid orphans, helped organize 5Ks to raise CF awareness, taught soccer to young people at her old Albemarle H.S. and helped organize events at the “More Than Just Me” (MTJMe) Foundation.
She was undoubtedly one of the funniest young ladies that I ever knew. You could count on a hilarious time when Erin was around, despite the fact that she might be in pain or not feeling well.
She was so happy until CF showed its ugly head. Erin was then placed on an Angel Flight from N.C. to Mayo Hospital in Jacksonville. You know the rest of the story.
My love, thoughts and prayers are with this wonderful family at this time. I know that Erin is finally at peace… no coughing… no pain. I will work even harder to help my CF patients have an easier and greater quality of life. I will think about her while I am doing just that.
In Erin Phillip’s honor, I have just established the Adams Charitable Foundation to help patients with cystic fibrosis and other complex chronic diseases. God bless this wonderful young lady. God bless her family and may they find some solace in knowing that she touched the hearts and lives of countless people in so many positive ways.
N. Lois Adams, Consultant Pharmacist, CRPh, MBA
HHCS Health Group of Companies
Cystic Fibrosis Pharmacy & Freedom Pharmacy
*Photo Contribution: Special thanks to Ian Ross Pettigrew Photography