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Friday, February 16, 2024 - An inspiration for many: Andy Lyons honored with 2023 Humanitarian Award

Roper St. Francis Healthcare Director of Corporate Communications and Content Strategy Andy Lyons was one of two teammates honored with the 2023 Roper St. Francis Healthcare President’s Humanitarian Award, the highest honor bestowed by the healthcare system that recognizes selfless work by teammates inside and outside the walls. Roper Hospital clinical pharmacist Jennifer Sterrett also won the honor. Read her story here.

As director of corporate communications and content strategy at Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Andy Lyons has spent a decade telling stories of good deeds by other teammates in the health system.

Now, teammates can point to his own story as a model for how they can live the Roper St. Francis Healthcare mission of healing all people with compassion, faith and excellence.

As winner of the 2023 President’s Humanitarian Award, Lyons exemplifies the humanitarian spirit even in the most trying of times. His story starts with a romantic getaway, turns into somewhat of a nightmare and ends in a way that can inspire us all.

Lyons and his wife, Renee, were vacationing last year on the small Caribbean island nation of Grenada when his wife fell and suffered a compound fracture of her ankle. A local physician at St. George’s General Hospital decided that her leg didn’t have to be amputated – a word that shocked the couple. But in fact, amputation is too often a treatment for such injuries in the tiny nation.

Though short on medical resources, the local doctors and community members treated Lyons and his wife with great kindness during such a painful ordeal.

Inspired by how they were treated, Lyons started to think of ways to thank the local people. That’s when a physician approached him with a request.

“When the doctor came up to him, he immediately had a heart for what they needed,” Renee Lyons said. “He truly fell in love with the people he met there.”

The physician had learned that Andy Lyons worked for a health system, and he explained that their orthopaedic drill wasn’t working. They needed a new one so they could treat people like his wife.

After the couple flew back for care from Roper St. Francis Healthcare's own orthopaedic specialists, Lyons got to work. The health system donated not just one, but three drills.

Lyons presented the doctors with the drills during a return visit to Grenada. It was a heartwarming moment, and the people of Grenada were touched by his passion.

The drills are now being used frequently on the island — helping to heal people hundreds of miles from Charleston.

But Lyons’ work didn’t stop there. He had toured the nation’s healthcare system during his second visit to Grenada and witnessed for himself the profound medical needs of its people. In Charleston, he mobilized volunteers to sort through piles of medical supplies contributed by Partners 4 Global Health, a local nonprofit founded by past Humanitarian Award winner Ali Swanson. He was able to arrange for shipment of the supplies to Grenada very soon.

“His passion for Grenada is an inspiration for many,” said Swanson, a certified physician assistant with Roper St. Francis Healthcare. “He’s truly making a difference for its people.”

Lyons has spent hours upon hours, weekend after weekend, helping the people of Grenada who had helped him and wife. He inspired others to join the effort, and our own orthopaedic surgeons hope to host the Grenadine physicians for a visit later this year. His work is truly making a difference.

Lyons turned a difficult ordeal into a blessing for a healthcare system in need, a fulfilling journey for himself and his wife, and a shining example of what it means to live the Roper St. Francis Healthcare mission of healing all people with compassion, faith and excellence.

“Andy Lyons exudes altruism,” Vice President & Chief Marketing and Digital Officer Kathy Smith said. “While his role as our communications and public relations leader obliges him to present the incredible mission and culture of Roper St. Francis Healthcare to the world, he actually lives that mission and inspires that culture within his professional and personal life, and in the most trying of circumstances.

"It’s my honor to know someone so generous, kind and selfless and to work alongside someone who represents Roper St. Francis Healthcare so well.”

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