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Lights of Love at Phoebe Worth Campus

This holiday season hope will shine brightly this holiday season at Phoebe Worth Medical Center, as we pay tribute to local cancer patients and their families with our own special Lights of Love tree. Lights will be lit in the thousands in honor and memory of loved ones, and donations to the beloved holiday event will benefit oncology patients receiving treatment at Phoebe Worth Medical Center.

Phoebe Worth Tree Lighting Ceremony Date

• Hospital Entrance: Save the Date - December 3, 2024

Donate now to ensure patients are
able to stay local for treatment and care.

A symbolic light of love can be purchased for a suggested $25 each. Donations can be sent to Lights of Love, PO Box 3770, Albany, GA 31706. For questions and more information, please contact Phoebe Foundation at 229-312-4483. Lights of Love is more than a holiday event, it is a year-round project, and your gifts are welcome at any time.

2023 Tree Lighter, Phoebe Worth Medical Center - Sylvester, Corin Gibson

Phoebe Worth Medical Center, Tree Lighting Ceremony

There’s a lot of energy in the Gibson family home in Sylvester.

“It never gets boring,” Brandon Gibson said. “They keep us moving, that’s for sure,” his wife, Sydney added, speaking about their four boys – Gavin, Corin, Leytin and Dallin – who range in age from one to eight. Oh, and they’re expecting a fifth son in January.

“I thought there would at least be one girl in there,” Sydney said. “We always knew we wanted a big family. The shock is just they’re all boys.”

Three years ago, the couple started noticing unusual swelling and bruising around Corin’s left eye. Eventually, he ended up at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta – Egleston Hospital where doctors determined he had tumors throughout his head. They diagnosed Corin with acute myeloid leukemia and told the young parents their little boy’s chances of survival were less than 15%.

“I already had a feeling that it was bad, but to actually be told that your kid has cancer and it doesn’t look good – it was hard,” Sydney said.

To make matters worse, the diagnosis came in the early months of the COVID pandemic, and the Gibsons couldn’t have any family with them in the hospital. They ended up leaning on other families at Egleston who were going through similar challenges.

“We had some other parents that gave us words of encouragement and helped us keep thinking positive,” Brandon said.

Initially, Corin went through five rounds of extremely intense chemotherapy. “With other types of cancer, they typically get their treatment and go home. He would get more chemo than an adult would, and he couldn’t be around anyone. He would stay in the hospital for months at a time,” Sydney said.

She would travel back and forth from Sylvester to Atlanta to continue working as a labor and delivery nurse at Phoebe in Albany while Brandon stayed with Corin. On Christmas Day 2020, Corin went into heart failure and nearly died. He survived the difficult treatments and went into remission, but the cancer returned. He had to go through more chemotherapy, then radiation and ultimately a bone marrow transplant.

“Seeing him like that was tough and scary. We would go to sleep every night and think, ‘will he wake up the next day,” Sydney said.

Corin was in the hospital most of the time between September 2020 and July 2022. He spent so much time at Egleston, he became an honorary member of the staff. “He’s really well-known there. They call him Dr. Corin and he’d even sit in on doctors’ meetings,” Sydney said.

When Corin was able to come home, he would get a big welcome. “The first time Corin came home from treatment, he had his own parade. Almost every time we were home, something special would happen for him,” Sydney said.

Neighbors threw Corin his own Christmas parade one year. And when he couldn’t go out on Halloween, the community organized a drive-by trick-or-treating event that collected so much candy, the Gibsons took bags of it back to Egleston for the other cancer patients. The love the Gibsons have felt from their tight-knit community and the support from their family have been invaluable.

“You can’t ask for better people,” Sydney said. “I loved it, just knowing that your community is there to support you,” Brandon added.

This year, Corin was able to go to school for the first time. He’s feeling good and making friends and enjoying having the strength to keep up with his brothers. “He’s doing great,” his dad said.

Despite all they’ve been through, Brandon and Sydney are optimistic and grateful, and they want everyone to know how much their support can mean to families dealing with cancer. “We’re just thankful to still have him here. At one point we didn’t know if we would make it this far. We definitely want to give back and use his face to show what cancer looks like,” Sydney said. “We’re just thankful for everything.”.