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Andy Quinn – Carrying the Weight of Our Community on His Shoulders

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As the initial shock of the COVID-19 Pandemic winds down and we begin to adjust to our new normal, we at Sheridan Memorial Hospital wanted to reflect on an outstanding member of the community who helped to ease our burdens during these trying times. So begins the story of Andy Quinn and his desire to do a half marathon, with 100 pounds on his back, to help our community remain WYO Strong.

Andy Quinn began his 2020 spring break like the rest of his peers, excited for some much-needed rest and relaxation but simmered by the expectation of returning to campus in little over a week to complete the latter half of his spring semester. By the end of spring break, however, Andy was shocked to find out that he was getting an extended break and would most likely not be returning to campus. On top of that, he was also disappointed to find that The Mickelson Trail Marathon, an event which he had endured rigorous training for, was canceled because of the pandemic. Now Andy would spend the rest of his semester living at home, helping on the family ranch, and engaging in online courses.

With newfound free time, Andy began to spend more and more time enjoying the great outdoors. However, when his father, Anthony Quinn of Sheridan Orthopedic Associates, started coming home from work early due to the restrictions of elective surgeries, Andy recognized the realities of the pandemic and wanted to help. In talking with his father, Andy realized that the repercussions of COVID19 had a severe financial impact on Sheridan Memorial Hospital and its employees, “I just wanted people to be able to keep working and helping people. I shadowed doctors and surgeries at SMH and just spent a lot of time milling around Sheridan Memorial Hospital in High School. It’s hard not to want to give back.”

With that, Andy started searching for ways that he could help and, in the process, was able to find a way to merge his desire to raise funds for the hospital and participate in a marathon, an opportunity he thought he missed with the cancellation of the Mickelson Trail Marathon. With help from The Foundation’s Director of Donor Relations Ada Kirven and their partners at WYO Timing, Andy was able to participate in the WYO Strong Virtual Race benefiting The Foundation at Sheridan Memorial Hospital. Now, all that Andy had left to do was to train and do a half marathon while carrying 100 pounds on his back, a feat that he had never attempted before. Luckily, his father was there to help get him ready. “We trained by looking for elk horns over long distances, and if we were lucky, we would have weight added at the end. My dad was instrumental in motivating me and was always willing to help train outside with me. And to be honest? I think he could probably still do more than I could.”

After many hours of hiking and training with his father, Andy was ready to grab some weights and run. He strapped 100 pounds to his back and started his half marathon, only stopping to repair a strap, which tore under the 100 pounds of weight as soon as his journey began. Andy recounted that his biggest challenge was not with the physical struggle he was enduring, but instead, he found the more significant test to be mental. “Having to actively think about what I was doing throughout the entire half marathon, analyzing how the extreme weight was distributed between my legs and how it was affecting how sore my legs were becoming, that was the biggest challenge.” Nevertheless, Andy persevered, and after carrying 100 pounds up hills and through canyons for 13 grueling miles, he finished his race.

Andy’s leadership and tenacity lead to donations of over $7,500 to his own personal WYO Strong fundraising efforts. Thanks to Andy’s effort and example, 65 others were inspired to take part in individual WYO Strong races, helping to raise nearly $10,000 in donations for the COVID-19 Care Fund & Greatest Needs at Sheridan Memorial Hospital.

“We truly appreciate that Andy was so willing to dedicate his time and energy to help support our community and to take some weight off of other’s shoulders – quite literally,” says Director of Donor Relations Ada Kirven. “Young people like Andy creatively supporting these efforts are the types of contributions that will ensure our community has excellent patient care available to us well into our future and theirs. It ensures our community stays WYO Strong.”

From everyone here at Sheridan Memorial Hospital, we would like to say thank you to Andy and all those who ran and helped to raise money for SMH in these trying times. Thank you for taking the future of our community into your own hands, thank you for making this community the best the world has ever seen, and thank you for being the Heart of Our Community.