Floral 11

Cynthia Dudley Lester

February 8, 1965 ~ March 27, 2024 (age 59) 59 Years Old

Tribute

Cynthia Dudley Lester, 59, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, passed away on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, after a brief battle with cancer.

Cynthia was born on February 8, 1965, in Michigan to Kay Shirley Pickett and John Wesley Dudley who precede her in death.

Cynthia was the beloved, dynamic, Executive Director and co-founder of the non-profit Trillium Center, inc., in Woodbridge, Virginia. She was a fierce advocate for those who struggle with mental illness and believed that others who have walked the same path have something special to offer in helping individuals move into recovery.

As a person with her own journey through mental illness and recovery, she dedicated her life to helping people with severe mental illness. As a founder of Trillium, Cynthia had a vision and the determination to turn it into reality. In 2007, she and two other women were able to secure funding for and open Trillium’s doors to the community.

Since that time, Trillium has provided a refuge and source of hope and recovery for those who struggle with mental illness. It is a place where people heal and learn how to change their own lives in a stress and stigma free atmosphere. Trillium is fully staffed by Peer Recovery Specialists, people who have lived experience with mental health recovery.

In life, Cynthia was the heart and soul of Trillium and a huge support and inspiration to the staff and clients. She was a mentor and friend to many of the people whose lives she touched. Cynthia has received numerous awards for her resolute support to the community. However, Cynthia’s influence didn’t stop with the Trillium program. Cynthia had been a Chair, then co-chair and supporter of Prince William County’s Mental Health Awareness Event for many years. She and another Trillium staff member spoke at a United Nations NGO conference in New York City.

Cynthia facilitated the creation of Trillium’s Speakers Bureau, which provides community outreach, offering presentations of personal experience with mental illness, all at no cost. She also participated, and her staff still participates, in regular trainings to help police officers learn to better manage calls involving individuals in crisis.

Cynthia worked with the Trillium staff to publish a book called “Hope Awakened” to assist those who have attempted suicide with the goal of providing concrete assistance and hope to others.

Working tirelessly in the community, Cynthia conferred with local leaders and the state legislatures to secure programming and legislation to meet the needs of those who struggle with mental illness. She received many awards and recognition for her work.

Sadly, Cynthia was diagnosed in early 2024 with uterine and brain cancer, and it rapidly worsened. Uterine cancer advanced to aggressive brain cancer in a matter of weeks. 

She married her long-time love, Roger Lester, on Monday, March 25, 2024. Our angel left us on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.

Cynthia Dudley Lester is survived by her beloved husband, Roger Lester of Fredericksburg, Virginia and her staff and the members of the Trillium Center, Woodbridge, Virginia, who also love and miss her dearly.

Cynthia was a vibrant woman, devoted to helping others and spreading beauty and hope in the world. 

There is no funeral. Cynthia and her husband did not want one. Trillium Center, Inc. is planning a Celebration of Life for Cynthia and all will be welcome. More information to come.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Cynthia’s GoFundMe or to the Trillium Center, Inc., which she co-founded and loved. 


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