St. Catherine Hospital Breast Center Director Heather Wright-Renick recently was honored as one of the 19 recipients of the Kansas Health Foundation’s Civic Health Heroes award, which celebrates individuals who have shown an exemplary record for service to others and their communities.

“If you looked up ‘Above and Beyond’ in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Heather,” according to a statement from the KHF.

Nominated by Beth Koksal, St. Catherine wellness program supervisor, Wright-Renick was nominated for putting her whole self into serving the medical and emotional needs of her patients, according to the KHF.

Wright-Renick said she was excited, humbled and surprised by the award and honored to be counted among so many esteemed health professionals.

A cancer survivor, Wright-Renick co-organizes the Do the Wright Thing softball tournament, a fundraiser originally founded by Wright-Renick’s friends to aid her and her family after her diagnosis. It has since helped more than 20 people.

“How do you ever thank everybody for supporting you, not just financially, which was huge … to know the kids had supportive teachers and their classmates and the churches in the community that rallied around us and my work. Just how do you say thank you to all those people? A thank-you note doesn’t seem adequate. So how do you say thank you? And that’s where we came up with it, to pay it forward,” Wright-Renick said about continuing and growing the tournament.

She also has volunteered with the Leave a Legacy Foundation to facilitate free cancer screenings in Grant and Finney counties.

Wright-Renick said her fight with breast cancer has absolutely affected the way she approaches her work and life.

“Most nurses are compassionate even to start with, but once you’ve been on the other side of the bed, once you’ve gone from being the caregiver to being the patient, it really opens your eyes and you understand on a whole different level,” Wright-Renick said.

 

Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.