Vascular Cures mourns the loss of Advisory Board member Gertrude Campbell. Gertrude lived a truly extraordinary life marked by trailblazing, advocacy, and passion.

Gertrude broke barriers early in life as the first woman to work at her community post office, and later becoming the first African-American Postmaster in Starkville, Mississippi. At the age 58, instead of retiring, she began working at her local physical therapy clinic.

Gertrude was diagnosed in her 50’s with diabetes but was never screened for the peripheral artery disease (PAD) that ultimately led to the amputation of her left leg. A few years later, advanced PAD (Critical Limb Threatening Ischemia, CLTI) also claimed her right leg. When Gertrude realized her personal experience was common and likely preventable, she become determined to spread the word that amputations due to PAD can be prevented with proper diagnosis and treatment.

In September 2019, she testified before Congress about the risks of PAD and the need for policies to spread awareness and reduce preventable amputations by sharing her powerful story with Rep. Donald Payne. He recently co-sponsored a bill, The Amputation Reduction and Compassion (ARC) Act (H.R. 8615), which, when passed, will expand coverage for PAD screening in vulnerable populations.

Gertrude was also a patient advisor and advocate for Vascular Cures. She represented patients in the Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in PAD (PROM-PAD) Working Group and, as one of the leaders of the group aptly said, “Gertrude is a force!”. In recognition of her dedication and contributions, Vascular Cures presented Gertrude with the very first Ron Stoney Vascular Hero award at the 2018 “Circulate!” annual celebration. To honor Gertrude’s legacy and impact, Vascular Cures is proud to announce that the annual Vascular Hero award for an inspirational vascular patient will now be known as the “Gertrude Campbell Vascular Hero Award”.

Gertrude’s spirit will continue to inspire us in all of our efforts to educate, empower and prevent poor outcomes from PAD.

Note: The Ron Stoney Vascular Hero Award will now be given to an outstanding medical professional and/or researcher going above and beyond to help patients with vascular conditions.