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Four nursing students receive funds to carry on compassionate legacy of Kristin Runyon

September 20, 2021

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Four nursing students receive funds to carry on compassionate legacy of Kristin Runyon

Barb Runyon remembers the condolences and notes from her late daughter’s patients like it was yesterday.

“I just couldn’t believe patients that only knew Kristin briefly would respond in that way,” Runyon explained. “It showed me what kind of impact she had on her patients.”

It has been 11 years since Kristin Runyon, a former nurse at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital was tragically killed, but her memory lives on through generations of caregivers who embody her strength, determination, and grit.

Four local nursing students have received scholarships in memory of Kristin as they work to continue her tradition of compassionate care.

Caeley Etter-Keller of Chambersburg, Sarah Wise of New Oxford, Mackenzie Weagley of Waynesboro, and Stacey Lawson of Shippensburg were recently awarded the Kristin Runyon Memorial Scholarship to support their nursing education.

“Caeley, Stacey, Mackenzie and Sarah possess the qualities and attributes of professionalism, compassion, servant leadership and passion for nursing that best represent Kristin’s qualities and legacy of compassionate care,” said Runyon, who helps to spearhead the scholarship committee.

The scholarship was created in memory of Runyon for students enrolled full-time in a registered nurse education program. Applicants must have a minimum grade-point average of 2.8 and live in Franklin County or the surrounding area.

“This is an absolute honor and privilege to receive this scholarship,” said Caeley, who is currently enrolled in Wilson College’s nursing B.S.N. degree program.

Caeley has been volunteering at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital since she was 13 and her passion for serving others supports her drive to become a trauma and flight nurse.

“I have a strong desire to gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to provide exceptional care and this scholarship moves me one step closer to my goal,” Caeley said.

For Sarah, her inspiration to become a nurse began when she witnessed a team of medical professionals care for her grandmother.

“It led me on the path I am on today and this award will help me fulfill my dream,” said Sarah, a nursing student at York College of Pennsylvania. “I want to be able to help people in need and provide the best quality care and experience that they deserve.”

Mackenzie also felt honored to be selected as a Kristin Runyon Memorial Scholarship recipient and believes in the value of giving back to the community she grew up.

“This scholarship benefits me by decreasing the cost of college while allowing me to focus more on my studies and continue my academic achievements,” Mackenzie said.

Mackenzie is currently pursuing her nursing B.S.N. degree at Penn State Mont Alto. After completing her nursing degree next spring, she hopes to enroll for her master’s degree and aspires to be a labor and delivery nurse.

While Caeley, Sarah and Mackenzie are following the path of traditional students, Stacey is chasing her nursing dreams as a non-traditional student.

The 46-year-old mother, who raised her two daughters, felt it was the right time last year to enroll at Gettysburg HACC as a nursing degree student.

She currently works as a tech in the ER at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital and her husband, a flight nurse on Life-Net 8-1, has not only supported her professional aspiration, but serves as a true inspiration as well.

“I will be the first in my family to graduate college and this scholarship means a lot to me in helping me make that happen,” Stacey said. “I want to become a respected nurse that not only cares deeply about her patients, but most of all I am doing this for my family.”

Since its inception in 2011, the scholarship fund has supplied $66,000 to assist 21 nursing students and Kristin’s mother says it wouldn’t be possible without the generous contributions from family, friends, co-workers, former patients and the community at large.

“We lost one great nurse, but this scholarship honors Kristin’s legacy by allowing us to help generations of great nurses,” Runyon said.