The following article appeared this week in the Hagerstown (MD) Herald-Mail newspaper. Nancy Weirich, the former Nancy Nye, is a native of Hagerstown and is a 1968 graduate of Grace College with a B.S. in elementary education. The entire article may be seen by clicking here.
Woman chosen as Patient Champion for National Kidney month
By JANET HEIM
HAGERSTOWN — Nancy Weirich has been on kidney dialysis for nearly 10 years, but that hasn’t stopped her from visiting her grandchildren a few hours away and taking annual family vacations to Tennessee and Alabama.
Weirich, 63, who strives to live life to the fullest while managing a chronic illness, was chosen as a Patient Champion, one of 31 dialysis patients to be honored during National Kidney Month in March.
The nationwide search was conducted by Fresenius Medical Care North America, a provider of products and services for dialysis patients. Weirich was selected from more than 130,000 patients at more than 1,700 facilities.
Weirich began in-center hemodialysis at Fresenius Medical Care Robinwood about 10 years ago after being diagnosed with high blood pressure, then scleroderma. The combination caused damage to her kidneys, making dialysis necessary.
When Weirich travels, she arranges to have dialysis at another facility. She now receives dialysis three times a week.
According to a press release from Fresenius, dialysis is a life-sustaining process that cleans waste products from the blood, removes extra fluids and controls the body’s chemistry when a person’s kidneys fail. Ongoing treatment is usually required unless the patient receives a kidney transplant.
Weirich encourages other patients not to let their dialysis needs interfere with their desire to travel. She is described as a patient advocate to fellow patients, one who supports and encourages, while easing concerns.
Her dedication to her dialysis treatment programs, positive attitude and inspiration were recognized by the staff at the Robinwood facility, who provide Weirich with her dialysis treatments, when they nominated her for the Patient Champion recognition.
“I nominated Nancy . . . because she is an exceptional person. She is courageous and an inspiration to everyone who knows her. Despite her own challenges, Nancy continues to reach out to others showing her compassion and support. She has a positive attitude in the face of multiple chronic illnesses and is a wonderful person,” said Jodi Becker, Clinical Manager, Fresenius Medical Care Robinwood.
Even after a recent hospitalization, Weirich joined family members in watching her grandson play in a varsity tennis match at Boonsboro High School.
As health and time permits, Weirich is involved with her church, Paramount Baptist. She sings in the church choir and helps deliver cold weather supplies to shelters and homes and said her strong faith is a constant in her life.
A retired elementary school teacher, Weirich and her husband, Ned, have been married 43 years. Her last 16 years of teaching were as a third-grade teacher at Bester Elementary School.
The Weirichs live in Hagerstown and have two grown sons, one who lives locally and one who lives in Virginia Beach, Va. They have three granddaughters and a grandson.