The creation of the Funding, Lymphatic, Obstruction, & Wellness Foundation (F.L.O.W.) spawned in 2021 from a practitioner’s burning desire to assist the lymphatic community to have better access to lymphatic garments and education.
Established by Dr. Kirk Cowardbey and Dr. Mahalia D. Smith, they both saw the barriers their patients faced in treating lymphedema. Their shared vision of decreasing these barriers motivated them to establish a foundation that focuses on fundraising for compression garments and educating the community through workshops.
With the support of many caring individuals a stellar team of volunteers who possessed a similar vision of decreasing barriers to lymphatic garments and education was assembled.
Primary lymphedema, secondary lymphedema & lipedema in general are one of the most poorly understood, relatively underestimated, and frequently misdiagnosed diseases of the vascular system. It is often treated ineffectively with diuretic medications. Lymphedema manifests as swelling when fluid rich in protein, excess water and products of the immune system accumulate in the interstitial space. Left untreated, patients develop chronic weeping stasis ulcers, skin fibrosis and increased girth in affected areas.
WHAT IS LYMPHEDEMA?
There are over 10 million people diagnosed in the United States living with Lymphedema and unfortunately even more undiagnosed globally. Lymphedema is incurable and can occur from trauma, congenital anomalies, surgery related issues & filariasis. Untreated lymphedema can cause further damage to healthy lymphatics, further congestion, infection, hospitalization and worse. Though there is no cure for lymphedema it can be treated with Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) which results in the use of maintenance garments, which is vital to keeping their congestion managed. However, most Medicare plans and allotted Commercial insurance plans do not cover these necessary compression garments.
IMPORTANCE OF CAUSE
MEET THE FLOW FORCE!
Lymphatic Compression Garments/Devices are types of fabrics and or equipment that assist in the management of lymphatic congestion such as:
Compression Stockings – elastic compression garments used on lower extremities to control lymph congestion
Compression Sleeve(s) – elastic compression garment is worn on the upper extremity to manage lymph swelling.
Compression Alternatives – non-elastic compression system that can be used instead of bandaging or elastic compression garments (for daily and or nightly wear) to manage lymph
Pneumatic (Compression) Pump – device that stimulates the flow of lymph with directed air through arm and or leg sleeves.
Multilayer (Bandaging) Compression System – gold standard for Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) that uses Short Stretch Bandages, foam, cotton & various materials to create a graduated compression.