Local woman hope to spread awareness at 2nd sarcoidosis event


YOUNGSTOWN

Gwendolyn Fish is on a mission to raise awareness for sarcoidosis, a disease that has unknown causes and symptoms that can be hard to detect.

The fight to raise awareness is a personal one – she is in the fourth and final stage of the disease.

Symptoms might not even be noticed by the victim. That was the case for Fish’s son, Wilbur Fish Jr., who died in 2013 at 47. He was healthy his whole life and didn’t know he had the disease.

“I don’t want anyone to go through this,” she said.

He left behind a 2-year-old son and a wife.

While her son didn’t exhibit symptoms, Fish has to go through oxygen therapy and has problems with her hands and feet.

“All these years my son had physical checkups, especially when he was in the military, but doctors didn’t catch it,” she said.

Sarcoidosis is the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells in major organs, and affects the immune system, according to the Mayo Clinic. There is no cure.

Fish is hosting the 2nd Annual Sarcoidosis Awareness Event at 3 p.m. May 6 at Mahoning County Country Club, 710 E. Liberty St., Girard.

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