5K Run/Walk to honor local nurse

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Mercy Cassville aims to raise awareness of life-threatening illness

Mercy Hospital Cassville's nursing department is partnering with community health agencies to host the inaugural Jennifer Dougherty 5K Run/1-Mile Fun Walk on Oct. 1 at 8 a.m. outside the hospital campus, located at 94 Main St.

The event is being held to honor local nurse Jennifer Dougherty, who died unexpectedly last December due to complications caused from sepsis.

Sepsis occurs when the body has an extreme response to an infection that has spread throughout the blood and tissues. Severe sepsis, known as septic shock, is a life-threatening condition that can affect any part of the body including the heart, brain, liver and kidneys. It can strike anyone, but is more common in infants and older adults. About 80 percent of cases are developed outside the walls of a health care facility.

Dougherty worked as a nurse in Mercy Hospital Cassville's medical-surgical unit, and for Oxford Home Health.

"Jennifer was a great friend and loved by many in the community," said Tiffany Means, emergency department inpatient manager at Mercy Hospital Cassville. "Along with her family, we wanted to honor Jennifer's memory, but also highlight how sepsis can take a life so quickly."

All proceeds from the event will be used to establish nursing scholarships at Crowder College, and a future memorial garden at Mercy Hospital Cassville -- all in Dougherty's memory.

The memorial garden will be open to the public.

"It will be a place people can go for peace of mind," said Bradley Haller, Mercy social media specialist. "We're so excited to have local organizations and educational opportunities join us on race day. The outpouring of support from the community has been great."

To spread awareness about sepsis, Mercy Hospital Cassville is putting the spotlight on the insidious illness that, according to a national study, less then one-third of Americans can correctly identify the symptoms. The same study revealed that more than 250,000 people die each year from the illness.

"We've seen a spike in sepsis cases recently, so awareness and education is very important," Means said. "There isn't one single symptom of sepsis, but rather a combination of any of the following: Shivering, fever, or low body temperature; rapid breathing or heartbeat; decreased urination; clammy or sweaty skin; or confusion or disorientation.

"Septic shock is just as serious as a heart attack or a stroke. If it's caught late, that poses a major challenge, because it's likely already spread to other organs."

Registration fees for the event are $20 for adults and includes a T-shirt; $15 for students and seniors (over 65).

Anyone who registers before Sept. 10 will be guaranteed a T-shirt, but they'll also be available for purchase at the event. Packet pick-up will be Sept. 30 from 5-7 p.m., or Oct. 1 from 6:30-7:30 a.m. at the hospital. Participants may also register the day of the event.

Children 12 and under are free.

To register, participants can visit www.register-wizard.com, then click on events to locate the event. For more information about the event and to connect on social media, participants can also visit the event's Facebook site at http://tinyurl.com/jc7egat.

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