Following are the profiles on the Lauren Marie Kimsey Foundation Board of Directors.
Board Chair – My name is Ashley (Kimsey) Jacobs and I am the sister of Lauren Marie Kimsey. I am a graduate and scholarship holder of East Carolina University and I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance Performance. After graduation I danced professionally for two years, with Columbia City Ballet in Columbia, SC. Our company toured and performed ballets throughout the southeast region of the nation. Since my time with the company I have been teaching dance for the past twelve years. I am currently a ballet instructor at Gaston Dance Theater in Gastonia, NC.
I am also the mother of two precious little girls, Faith (7), and Emberlyn (3). My girls were Lauren’s heart, and gave her so much joy, even during her illness. In their eyes, their Aunt LaLa hung the moon. The loss of their dear Aunt leaves a hole in their hearts, just like the the rest of us who held her so close to our own hearts.
As Lauren’s sister, and with the help of my wonderful parents, Warren and Pam Kimsey, and amazing board, we established The Lauren Marie Kimsey Foundation for Synovial Sarcoma. I remember thinking, the day that she passed, that her illness and pain could not go unnoticed nor have no purpose. That is when I had the idea to begin a foundation in her name, to fund more research and help those with this incredibly rare form of cancer. Those of you who knew Lauren witnessed the love and compassion she had for others. She touched the lives of so many people with an out stretched arm and opened hand. Even during her illness, to help others was her calling. Her legacy of helping others should live on through this foundation. My hope is that one day a cure will be found for Synovial Sarcoma. I pray that there will come a time where no other person will have to go through what my sister Lauren had to endure, and that no more families will have to lose someone they hold so dear to them. Please help support The Lauren Marie Kimsey Foundation so more people can.. “Live…Laugh… and Love”.
My name is Pam Kimsey and I live in Gastonia, North Carolina. I am married to Warren Kimsey, former exhibits director of The Schiele Museum of Natural History, We were incredibly lucky to have two precious daughters and two adorable granddaughters. I am retired from Fort Properties as the property manager of the business. This was a very challenging job with no two days the same, but I did enjoy my job and helping those in need find homes.
Our eldest daughter was Lauren Marie Kimsey. She was the sweetest most giving person I have ever known. She fought her battle with cancer with no complaints. She loved doing for others, and worried about everyone else before herself. Her volunteer work continued even as she fought her own battle. Our family will never be the same without her. Her little nieces still remember her and often say they miss their LaLa.
Her sister Ashley Kimsey Jacobs thought of the Foundation in hopes that with enough research, no one else will have to go through what Lauren did. Ashley’s heart is as giving as Lauren’s was. Her dad and I were delighted with this idea and will work hard to see that it continues. This foundation is very personal to me. Lauren would want to see her family trying to help other people not to have to go through what she did. At this time there is no cure for Synovial Sarcoma. I pray that at some point with God’s help and your help we can make a difference.
My name is Pam Bagwell, and I am married to John L. Bagwell III. We are blessed to have 5 children and now have 7 grandchildren. I retired earlier this year after having worked for 30 years with Gastonia Children’s Clinic, a busy and excellent pediatric practice in Gastonia, NC.
The Bagwell’s and the Kimsey’s have been friends for over 25 years. We’ve attended church together, sung in the choir together, watched all our children grow up together, attended all our children’s weddings together, and even took several yearly vacations together for over 20 years. It was devastating for all to watch such a wonderful family and close friends suffer through such a horrible illness with their beautiful daughter Lauren.
When I was asked to join the board for Lauren’s Foundation to raise money for research to cure Synovial Sarcoma, I couldn’t have been more honored. I look forward to helping this great family do great things towards helping to find a cure.
My name is Brian Sisson, I am the owner and COO of The Range at Lake Norman, The Range at Ballantyne and The Pineville Gun Shop. I also serve on the Board of Directors at EnergyUnited. I am married to Tricia Sisson for 26 years and have two Children Kaitlyn who is an inventory analyst at Electrolux and Sam who is a student at App State.
I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Lauren in 2011, through a mutual friend. She was the type of person that you meet and just adored immediately. Lauren was the center of a group of friends who spent much time together and enjoyed just hanging around and having fun. She was an amazing person whose smile would light up a room and who was always concerned about others, regardless of the challenges she was facing in life. There are very few days that go by, that I don’t think about Lauren and the smile she put on the faces of so many people. She is missed by so many and touched the hearts and souls of an entire community.
When I was asked to join the board of her foundation it took me about a nano-second to agree. Any chance I have to continue to spread, the love, hope and beauty that came from Lauren, makes her limited time on earth that much more special.
Donnie Grissom – President Performance Orthopaedics of the Carolinas, Inc. – The reason that I wanted to serve on this board was that in the short time that I got to know Lauren, she was such an incredible and giving person. She never complained, and worried about others being happy through all of her struggles. I would like the foundation to carry on her legacy of helping others and to be able to find a cure so no one else will have to deal with what Lauren went through.
Dr. Manish Damani
My name is Laura Engel and I currently work at Aquesta Bank as Shareholder Relations/Marketing Consultant. I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a bachelors degree in Accounting and went on to attend Western New England University School of Law where I obtained my Juris Doctor. I sit on the board of Hospice and Palliative Care of the Charlotte Region and am involved in various charitable activities throughout my community. I am married to my husband Jim and we have 5 children (and our dog Daisy J).
I met Lauren when she first came to work for Aquesta Bank. She came when the company was just formed and took a chance at working at a start up. I remember thinking what a beautiful woman she was. It wasn’t until later, when I better got to know her, that I realized her beauty was much more than skin deep. She was always willing to lend a hand or help wherever needed. Moreover, she never had a bad word to say about anyone, ever. As I saw her struggle with this terrible illness, it struck me that there were so little known about how to treat this devastating and aggressive disease. I watched as Lauren desperately tried to get into a trial in Texas, only to have the opening of the trial delayed. Unbeknownst to her, a trial was set to begin in her own back yard of Charlotte. Unfortunately, the information got to her too late. It is my hope that not only a cure can be found for this terrible illness, but also timely information get to those who receive a diagnosis of Synovial Sarcoma.