Force behind 'Save the Lady Vols' in declining health

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - A longtime Lady Vol fan who was a force behind the "Save the Lady Vols" effort is not doing so well.


Edith Williams, 88, and her family need your thoughts and prayers.

Edith is surrounded by family and friends at Shannondale Nursing Home. Just diagnosed with congestive heart failure, Edith is thrilled by the flowers and messages from all over the country.


We stopped by with some orange and white roses, and a card from all of us at WATE 6 On Your Side to brighten the spirits of a woman who worked tirelessly on the petition drive to get the Lady Vols brand reinstated for all the Tennessee women's teams back in November 2014.


Remember, then-athletics director Dave Hart decided to do away with the name for everyone but the women's basketball team.


Today, despite her failing health, Edith still has some words for Hart. 


"We called him Dave Hartless," she says.


Edith was a big part of the Facebook page "Bring Back the Lady Vols" which is now called "Brought Back the Lady Vols."


Right now, it is filled with hundreds of well-wishes for her from those who remember seeing her front and center at the celebration bringing back the Lady Vols name, and the iconic photo of her hugging then-athletics director John Currie.


Edith told us, "I said, if I have a chance to hug John Currie, I'm going to hug him and hug him and hug him."


Mollie Delozier, a former Lady Vol swimmer, met Edith through Facebook and worked with her on the Lady Vols effort. 


"She made a difference not just in that campaign, but I think what she taught so many of us on the Facebook page is, she was probably the oldest active member in that group and she taught all of us that it doesn't matter what stage of life you're in, you can make a difference," Delozier said.


Now, Edith is in a fight for her life. As her health takes an unexpected turn, her family now realizes the national impact she has had.


"We and my kids are just amazed at how many people she's affected by what she's been doing for the Lady Vols," said her son, Tom Williams. "We had no idea. We thought this was kind of a local thing and her little thing she wanted to do..passing the petitions around."


If you'd like to send a card to Edith:
Send to Edith Williams
Shannondale Nursing Home
7424 Middlebrook Pike
Knoxville, TN 37909

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