Life is filled with heartache, but sometimes, the terrible things in life give birth to unforeseen positives.
In June 2015, Bill Sheahan experienced the crushing blow when his wife, Tori, died from a sudden heart attack.
During his time of mourning, Sheahan got a call from the Winter Park Health Foundation just a few weeks after Tori’s passing. The organization had set up a memorial fund in her honor.
“It was a wonderful thing that the Winter Park Health Foundation thought so highly of working with my late wife for so many years,” Sheahan said.
Tori Sheahan had been a pediatric nurse practitioner — working as the School Nursing Initiative Coordinator for the WPHF, where she helped supervise, mentor and support school nurses at Winter Park High school and its feeder schools at the elementary and middle school level. She also worked at Glenridge Middle School’s health center for many years.
The Tori Sheahan Memorial Fund itself helps raise money to provide medical supplies and health education resources to students in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville.
The fund is also one of the three organizations/programs — with the others being Winter Park’s Be the Change programs, and the American Cancer Society Hope Lodges — that will be a beneficiary during the second annual HOPE Walk for Health this Saturday.
In coordination with the WPHF, Orange County Public Schools and the American Cancer Society, the walk will take place at 9 a.m. in Harbor Park in Baldwin Park.
In addition to remembering Tori Sheahan and raising money, organizers hope to inform people about being and staying healthy, said Heather Traynham, head coordinator for the event.
“The idea of the walk is to create awareness about healthy living and how to accomplish those goals,” Traynham said.
Walk participants will make their way around Lake Baldwin where, along the way, they will be stopped at different points on the path and receive questions about healthy living to ponder and discuss while they walk.
“She and her family use to walk every night to talk about their day, and whenever there was something that would be stressful or if there were any conflict, they would just process that as they were walking,” Traynham said. “She was a big advocate for it.”
Once walkers are finished with the course, they will be able to take in showcases of community projects completed by local students that focus on health.
“We have some students that are participating in a health food stand, and we have other students that are doing a bake sale stand,” Traynham said. “There are just different student-led community projects that are going to be on display at the event.”
The concept of the walk, in its nature is simple enough, but for the people who knew Tori Sheahan, it means much more. It means helping to support the things that Tori held closest to her heart, and that’s the best way to remember her and what she did for students and those in the community.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to fund school-based health centers that my wife was so passionate about,” Sheahan said. “Anyone you come across says pretty much the same thing — that Tori was caring and thorough and that she always went beyond to try and get folks help and services.”