Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In Memorium: Ashlee Emerson Lambrix

Ashlee Emerson Lambrix

Last night, when I landed in San Francisco for the NAREIM Acquisitions and Asset Management meeting, I opened my phone and saw an email from a former colleague with some very upsetting news.  “As you probably heard already, Ashlee died last night…she had been battling cancer for a couple of years.” I was very appreciative that I got the news, and terribly, terribly upset – and hadn’t known anything about what Ashlee was going through.

Ashlee and I met 10 years ago when she first interviewed for an assistant research position at Institutional Real Estate, Inc.  I liked her right away and could tell she had great potential.  This would be her first post-college job.  The director of research and I both felt Ashlee could be ‘the one’ to fill the role and, uncharacteristically in a way, we took her out to lunch with us right after the interview to get to know her better.  That experience sealed our decision:  she was offered the job and accepted. 
Ashlee showed enthusiasm and hunger to learn the industry.  When the opportunity arose to appoint a new head of data services, even though Ashlee had only been in her position for a few years, she was chosen.  I remember during one of our ‘mentoring’ sessions around that time she said to me, ‘Steve, do you think I can do this job?  There’s still so much I don’t know about the industry.’  I encouraged her and was always a big fan of hers.  She did the job – and more.  Ashlee took that position to another level and, over the years, developed more and more confidence. She was a breath of fresh air in an industry that sometimes gets a bit too full of itself, and as she got more and more ‘client facing’ - regardless of her lack of ‘real real estate’ experience - people loved her.  We, her work colleagues at IREI, loved her too.  She had something that you can’t teach people – a smile that immediately engaged anyone she encountered and she possessed a maturity beyond her years.  People just liked Ashlee.  Ashlee was real. 

After I left the company in 2008, she and I kept in touch every once in a while.  We saw each other at a couple of conferences and had a chance to sit together and catch up. Sitting in a hotel room this morning writing this, I’m struggling with how long it has been since the last time we either saw or spoke with each other - I’m feeling very, very sad.

In November 2014, the piece below was posted on a site called - a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for Sarcoma and raises funding for Sarcoma cancer research by completing a team run across or around countries.

Ashlee Emerson Lambrix is a 32 year old, beautiful and vivacious young lady. Knowing her you would not believe that she has been fighting cancer for over two years and continues to fight each and every day. In May 2012, Ashlee was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma. This cancer is so rare that only 120 in one-million children will be diagnosed each year. Only a handful will be diagnosed over the age of 20. Ashlee fights this awful and aggressive cancer with the support of her husband, Scott, and 4-year-old son, Hudson.

After her initial doctor giving up on her success, she began to interview multiple doctors in Southern California. She was looking for a doctor to fight her fight with her! She ended up at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. Though this doctor is willing to try everything to help Ashlee, his location is not ideal for her and her family. Ashlee had to fly down from Northern California on a bi-weekly basis to receive treatment. During these weeks she has to leave her husband and son and miss out on special events such as, Hudson’s first field trip at school and birthday parties. Knowing this is the right choice for her and her family does not make it any easier to leave them and miss out on such precious events.

Ashlee continues to fight her battle, her strength, determination and persistence is what is helping her through this. Several doctors, and medical employees have met Ashlee and continue to say, “I have never met a patient who has cancer, works full time, flies down to LA, and is a full time mommy and wife.” This is how we know Ashlee is strong and will overcome this terrible disease. It is with her strength and our confidence in the Lord that we know she is fighting a battle that she can win. We know God has a plan with this, and we continue to see what He has in store. We have witnessed first hand the power of prayer and know that Ashlee is lifted up daily in prayer.

You may have met Ashlee.  Perhaps, some of you also didn’t know what she was dealing with.  In times like this we sometimes gravitate to the philosophical - her battle is over and she is at peace.  To me – it’s a bunch of BS.  Ashlee has left this world but I think she is probably already setting up a database to track lots of information about the real estate in Heaven to offer insight to the ‘higher authorities’ which will help them add-value to their ‘property’ portfolio!  She’s probably also already connected via social media ‘in the cloud’ as well!

My heartfelt condolences go out to her husband Scott, her son Hudson and the rest of her family and colleagues.

32 years old.  So much to live for.  Life just ain’t fair!

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