Honoring a legacy
A 1.7 mile loop in a Winter Park neighborhood was the path to conflict resolution for late local nurse practitioner Tori Sheahan and her family. Once or twice a day, Tori, Bill and their two children would get their bodies walking and brains jogging as they utilized the suburban landscape to discuss their days or solve dilemmas.
Tori’s legacy and emphasis on a healthy lifestyle and mindset will be honored at the Walk ‘n Talk for Life event on Jan. 7 at Harbor Park in Baldwin Park. The Winter Park Health Foundation, Winter Park Consortium of Schools with Lion’s Pride Fund and American Cancer Society created this event to help continue to support the memorial fund in Tori’s name.
“She just really believed in not letting things fester and to do something that was good for yourself physically and emotionally,” said Debbie Watson, executive vice president of the Winter Park Health Foundation.
The walk is about the length of a 4K and will take the community around Lake Baldwin, with four counseling stations around the lake. Two CHILL counselors (Community Help Intervention in Life Lessons) will be located at each station to pose questions and encourage healthy family discussions.
Heather Traynham, coordinator for the walk as part of Winter Park Consortium of Schools, said it will generate sustainability in setting healthy examples for locals.
“There are so many people in our community living and struggling with health issues, and I think it’s a really important opportunity to create something that will have a lasting impact on how people treat those health issues,” Traynham said.
Tori passed unexpectedly at the age of 45, but the community won’t soon forget her efforts in child healthcare.
Her loved ones and coworkers remember her as an endearing confidant and knowledgeable mentor, as well as someone who constantly went above and beyond for the youth she served at Glenridge Middle School and in the surrounding communities.
“If you ever get the chance to work with somebody that wants the best for you and teaches you to be the best that you can be then you’re extremely blessed,” said Dawn Feeser, a registered nurse at Glenridge. “And that is what [Tori] did and what she was — with my level and to the kids and the other nurses.”
Fesser worked with Tori for nearly 7 years, and she said their relationship was unique and sometimes included unspoken dialogue, as they both functioned as each other’s right hands.
“I could look at her and not even say one word, and basically we’d have a situation where a kid or even a staff member was going south, and I didn’t even have to say a word; I’m looking at her, we both agree, and we’re calling 911,” Fesser said.
Pam Flaherty, the president of Health Care Providers of Florida, first bonded with Tori in graduate school at the University of Florida and continued growing with her at Glennridge.
“She was, in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ terms, my person,” said Flaherty. “When I wasn’t sure how to handle a situation, I’d talk about it with her and then I’d have a solution. And I felt good about it, and I knew it was the right decision.”
Bill Sheahan, Tori’s husband of almost 24 years, said he’s touched by the efforts being made toward continuing his wife’s everlasting presence of compassion and “beacon of common sense.”
“It’s just very cool that the community and people that she worked with just felt so strongly about her as well,” he said.
He said his wife would be too humble to want the community’s praise directed at her, but that the memorial fund will speak volumes to her legacy.
The funds will go back in the community for healthcare efforts in local schools, and includes a $500 scholarship given to a young member of the community who embodies conscientiousness and a heart for giving back, traits Tori personified.
“[Her children] are just the epitome of kindness and wellness and intelligence,” said Flaherty. “They are her legacy. This [walk] is part of her legacy, but her greatest legacy is her kids.”
For more information on the Walk ‘n Talk for Life event, visit http://www.healthykidstoday.org/2016/12/01/tori-sheahan-walk-n-talk-life/.