By Angela Go
Hope defined Alicia Maxwell’s daily life. Maxwell (B.A. ’02, DPT ’12), who lost her life to breast cancer on June 6, never gave up hope and lived each moment in life to the fullest. Despite her stage IV cancer diagnosis, Maxwell threw herself into the rigorous Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).
Throughout, Maxwell inspired her classmates and faculty. She never missed a semester, asked for special treatment or took her illness into the clinical environment. In clinical rotations with her physical therapy patients, Maxwell made their illness or injury and treatment her focus. Spending time getting to know her patients made her a better caregiver, Maxwell said.
Determined to finish her degree despite her illness, Maxwell credited her classmates for their support in her fight.
“Being around other students helped me rally and stay on goal,” she said in the fall of 2011.
Maxwell’s classmates honored her at the 2011 DPT hooding ceremony with special breast cancer awareness pins tagged “Beardog pack.” Beardog, a nickname bestowed upon her, refers to the strength of a bear and the tenacity of a dog. The class felt the beardog was an ideal mascot for Maxwell, as it embodied her personality.
Her spirit continues to inspire her former classmates. Fellow classmate and close friend Mike Myers noted that Maxwell taught him an important lesson.
“She taught me to treat the patient as a person and not a diagnosis,” said Myers.
A 2002 graduate of Georgia State’s film and video degree program, Maxwell changed her career to physical therapy after a back injury exposed her to the field. She is survived by her husband, Bernard Moussa, her parents, brother and sister. Maxwell’s family received her DPT degree posthumously.