Shelby Adams November 19, 1973 January 3, 2017 Shelby Marie Adams, 43, died peacefully on Jan. 3, 2017 in the arms of her mother and sister, surrounded by the love of family and friends. When Shelby entered the room there were no strangers, only friends, fun, love and laughter. Her giant, mischievous smile brought warmth and joy to all who knew her. Shelby was born on November 19, 1973 in Yorba Linda, Calif. and spent the majority of her life in California and Nevada. She was a graduate of Sparks High School, Class of 1992 and earned degrees in Health Information Technology and Business Information Systems at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa and The University of Phoenix. She moved to her beloved home in west Reno in 1999, where she would host 80's rock themed sing-along BBQ's until her final days. At Shelby's house, there was always an abundance of good food, great wine, and laughter. Shelby excelled in her career in Health Information Technology, beginning as the Director of Medical Records for Tahoe Pacific Hospitals West. She later became the Operations Specialist for the University of Nevada School of Medicine, and a Department Chair for Health Information Technology at the Career College of Northern Nevada. She was the Health Information Supervisor at Renown Health until her disease forced her to retire. That knowledge and passion for the healthcare industry, mixed with Shelby's tenacious spirit and grit, would pave the way for her true legacy as a tireless cancer patient advocate and proponent for cancer research. Even in the face of crushing adversity and fighting valiantly for her life, Shelby dedicated herself and much of her precious energy to supporting the rights of cancer patients. In 2013, just two years after her own diagnosis, Shelby made her first trip to Washington D.C. as a representative for the Nevada Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF). By day, Shelby would diligently meet with elected officials to discuss national healthcare issues and, more importantly, patient rights. On her time off, Shelby would dress up like historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln or Benjamin Franklin, and explore the city. This past summer, her sister Shauna and nephews Derek and Dylan enjoyed the sights with her. She was so proud to introduce them to Washington D.C. Wherever she went, she brought a zest for life that touched all those in her presence. Shelby had a knack for explaining the patient experience in a way that built understanding and compassion, so she became a beloved spokesperson for her cause. At home in Nevada, she was named Congressional District 2 Lead for the American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network during which time she testified, successfully, on behalf of the Dense Breast Tissue Law, Oral Chemo Parity Law, and Increase in Tobacco Tax. She was also a committed patient advocate through the Nevada Cancer Coalition, presenting at numerous events and serving on the Survivorship and Palliative Care Task Force. Through her grueling treatment and many unexpected setbacks, Shelby maintained fervor for helping others. Perhaps her most touching way to assist new cancer patients was through her homemade "Chemo Kits." Understanding the fear and confusion new patients faced, Shelby created and delivered her kits and a personal letter to add comfort to a difficult time. Shelby was recognized for her tremendous impact. In January of 2015 she was named an Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Champion. The highlight of her trip to accept the award, surrounded by family and friends, was getting a kiss on the head from Dr. McDreamy, Patrick Dempsey. That same year, she received the NPAF Outstanding Courage and Dedication in Patient Advocacy Award and the Nevada Cancer Coalition's Excellence in Patient Advocacy Award. The only thing that could keep Shelby away from her advocacy was living it up with her family and friends. She loved the people around her fiercely and made time to create lasting memories with each of them. Shelby will be remembered for her unbridled enthusiasm for life, her love of concerts and all things Rick Springfield, dancing and singing with a glass of good red in her hand. Her generosity, easy laughter and conversation frequently connected friends who would have otherwise never been, expanding her reach and impact far beyond what she would ever know. She will be dearly missed. Shelby is remembered with love by her mother, Debbie and her husband Billy of Memphis, MO., her sister Shauna and nephews Derek and Dylan of Sparks, NV., her 'Dad' Craig of Reno, NV., her brother Adam, niece Kalli and nephews Kaden and Kole of Sparks, NV., her Grandma Helen Adams of Ottumwa, IA and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. She was preceded in death by her father, Wesley "Gene" Adams and her grandparents, Jack Adams, Marvin Jones and Shirley Jones. A celebration of Shelby's life will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Midtown Wine Bar (1527 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89502) in Reno, Nev. Guests are invited to join the celebration at any time during those hours. Shelby was also a tireless advocate for metastatic breast cancer research. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in loving memory to Metavivor.org , an organization dedicated to education and funding of Stage 4 cancer research.
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