‘She never let her illness stop her’: Late Savannah leader’s daughter remembers her as trailblazer who defied odds

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — “She is a person that never kept anything for herself,” said Daysha Argrow-Hill of her late mother, Sarahlyn Phillips.

The longtime community leader and founder of the nonprofit organization, Assisting Working Women in Need, succumbed to bone and breast cancer on March 2. 

“She left this world empty, which is what we all should strive to do,” Argrow-Hill said.

Phillips, who was a mother to five daughters, once called the organization she’d loved so dearly her “sixth child.”

“That’s her baby, she never wanted to let it go because she enjoyed and loved helping people,” her second-oldest daughter told WSAV News 3.

Argrow-Hill remembers her mom as a giver who devoted all that she could to AWWIN and her family, even as her health declined in recent months.

Phillips started AWWIN in 2000 to assist single working women and mothers on their journeys to becoming self-sufficient. Once a single mother herself, the survivor of domestic abuse knew what it was to struggle to provide for her family.

“We know what it’s like to be hungry, we know what it’s like to not have a home of your own,” Argrow-Hill said. 

Through AWWIN, Phillips was able to help over 7,000 families in the Savannah area.

The organization provided career development services like occupational, life skills and job readiness training.

Phillips also gave back to the community whenever she could. 

“One of the last ways that she continued to give back was that she assisted St. Mary’s Baptist Church with a Christmas drive, and they did a toy giveaway,” her daughter said.

“She never let her illness stop her from helping people, loving on people, coaching people, encouraging people,” she said. “It was just in her.”

Phillips made the tough decision to officially step down from AWWIN last summer to focus on her health and spending time with her family. 

The community leader was laid to rest on March 7. Several people whose lives she’d touched attended Phillips’ service.

Argrow-Hill remembers her mother as a trailblazer who beat the odds, overcoming personal challenges to help women enduring similar challenges. 

“She never failed to step up to any challenge that life threw at her, whether it was good or bad,” Argrow-Hill said.

“I will forever commend her for being the woman that she was for the rest of my life, and I will teach that to my children,” she said. 

Sarahlyn Phillips was 63 years old. 

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