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Realty Times Contributor's Years Of Courage End Sadly

Written by Posted On Thursday, 21 September 2006 00:00

As one of the brightest stars on the speaking circuit, the founder of the revolutionary real estate consulting concept and it's trade association the National Association of Real Estate Consultants, Julie Garton-Good was never one to wear her troubles on her sleeve. With tireless energy and a ready smile for all, she was privately fighting a losing battle against a rare autoimmune disease that afflicted her 22-year-old daughter Crystal over 11 years ago.

Crystal Ann Branch was in college and working as a paralegal when she suddenly lost so much weight she feared she had an eating disorder. Then one day, she coughed up blood. Diagnosed with Wegener's Granulomatosis anca-positive vasculitis, a disease of the Lupus family in which healthy cells turn on themselves, causing capillaries to burst and the lungs to fill with blood, Crystal received what was in effect a life sentence. Most who contract the disease live a maximum of 15 years, and it's fatal in more than 90 percent of cases. The causes are unknown, and there's no cure, although care of the disease has improved.

But Crystal was a fighter. Despite taking as many as 15 medicines a day, twice a day, suffering grand mal seizures, gastric distress, tube-feedings, and spending as many as 200 days a year in the hospital, Crystal turned pain and suffering into activism, writing a patient's handbook for others.

Although she lost the legal career she was looking forward to, she was musical and had a gift for writing, much like her mother. Over the years, she went through two million-dollar health insurance policies, which included covering the costs of receiving a donated kidney from her mother seven years ago. Her body rejected the kidney, and she's been through a litany of gastric problems and system breakdowns since. She received dialysis treatments through Medicaid.

She was working on the book when she passed away in her sleep on Monday, September 18, 2006.

"One thing I've realized, is everybody has their own heartbreak," Garton-Good told Realty Times in a previous interview. "There are others with severe, chronic and challenging diseases, and it lets them know that I am in the same shoes. Just because I've come from afar to speak to you doesn't mean I'm not just like you. I relate to people and they can relate back to me. They share their stories with me."

We at Realty Times offer this courageous family our condolences and our sincere appreciation for the wisdom, caring and fortitude Julie Garton-Good, Steve and Crystal have shown us throughout the last decade.

A celebration of Crystal's life will be held at 5:45 p.m., Thursday, September 21, 2006 at Baldwin Fairchild Ivanhoe Chapel, 301 N. Ivanhoe Blvd., Orlando, Florida. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Crystal's name to the Wegener's National Organization, P. O. Box 28660, Kansas City, MO 64188.

Julie Garton-Good can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Please feel free to share your thoughts and prayers with her and her husband Steve.

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