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Family, friends of late Milledgeville cancer center nurse work to honor her memory

Jeanna Baugh Montgomery was a light in the community. Now, those who love and miss her want to honor her with a fundraiser.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — A ball happening in Milledgeville Saturday is set to honor of a nurse who, like the Thomas Rhett song, strived to 'Be A Light' to everyone she worked with.

Jeanna Baugh was a nurse for 37 years, and she went to work at the Atrium Health Navicent Cancer Center in 1996. There she cared for and tended to thousands of patients over the years.

Jeanna died unexpectedly in last April, but her light shines on.

Her daughter, Jessica Elliott, says Jeanna often told people to "be a light." Even at heated sporting events with her family, even on the long days at work, even when she was taking care of everyone around her -- she was a light.

Those who worked with her or had her as a nurse remember her fondly. Physician Tripp Simpson started working at the cancer center a year before Jeanna. 

"Probably the one word that would describe her best is 'sweet,'" he said. 

He says they watched each others' kids grow up. Jeanna would even buy birthday and Christmas gifts for his kids.

"She was like a relative to our family... my kids really love her," Simpson said. "She was part of our family."

Friend and Nurse Practitioner London Eady says Jeanna helped her with the transition to oncology. She says Jeanna was excellent with patients.

"She would pray with them," Eady said. "Went above and beyond as a nurse."

They eventually became best friends.

"She's who I went to... she would always be there for you," she said.

Elliott says the idea of having a fund in her honor was the perfect way for family and friends to continue Jeanna's legacy, so they started the Jeanna Baugh Montgomery Cancer Support Fund. Not too long after, they made plans for a fundraiser ball.

When they started to sell tickets in January for the inaugural Be a Light Sneaker Ball, they thought it would take awhile to sell out. Instead, they've been sold out for weeks.

"I think it'll be emotional, but I also think everyone will be rejoicing in being able to celebrate Jeanna," Eady said. "She'll be real happy that what we raise and what we do will go toward the patients."

All the money is going to helping patients with anything they need for support.

"What better way to celebrate all of that than to get friends and family and the community together to raise money for something she was really passionate about," Elliott said.

The ball will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Club at Lake Sinclair. All funds go to the Jeanna Baugh Montgomery Cancer Support Fund. All donations are tax deductible.

Credit: WMAZ

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