Sharon Waurynchuk, a devoted and admired BC Renal patient partner, passed away on January 7, in the company of her husband Don and their family at Moog Hospice House in Penticton.
Sharon’s dedication to BC Renal and to kidney patients across the province to improve awareness and care outcomes was constant. She brought not only her lived experience with chronic kidney disease but also her knowledge and experience as one who worked in BC as a health-care educator and manager.
Sharon’s approach to advocacy and problem-solving was a balance of empathy and tangible outcomes. In 2019, she told BC Renal while interviewing to join the Dialysis Workforce Strategy Working Group, “What I would take away or get out of being a volunteer is that I would actually see the changes that are happening... and you always want to have the feeling that you are making something better for somebody else.”
As a BC Renal patient partner in 2019-2020, Sharon participated as part of BC Renal’s Patient Goal-Setting Focus Group, the Dialysis Workforce Strategy Working Group and the What Matters to You Action Planning workshop. Additionally in recent years, Sharon contributed her passion and expertise as a member of the BC Renal Hemodialysis Committee and the Patient & Family Engagement Advisory Committee.
Helen Chiu, quality lead of Patient-Centred Performance Improvement at BC Renal, remembers Sharon fondly, noting, “It was always lovely to touch base with her in between meetings, when she shared her spirit of hope, tenacity and love for life. She always spoke very kindly and brought a welcoming presence to those around her at the dialysis unit, meetings and in the community.”
Fellow patient partner Teresa Atkinson captures the impression many had about this dynamic woman: “Sharon was the type of person who looked at life as a 'glass half full’ despite her many health challenges. Her welcoming smile and thoughtful contributions will be greatly missed throughout our community.”
Sharon’s practicality and pleasant spirit is also recalled by Jesse Colbeck, manager of clinical operations at Penticton Region Hospital. Jesse says, “I first met her in the kidney care clinic and recall a smart, assertive woman who sought information and self-managed the aspects of her health that were in her control.”
Jesse continues, “When it was time for her to start dialysis, she was a warm and social presence on the unit. In her final days she was sure to mention her gratitude to our renal team for their care and talked about how being an active participant in the unit as well as on BC Renal committees brought her such joy.”
A message posted by Sharon’s family on Facebook captures their love for her and reflects Jesse’s note of appreciation for the kidney care she received: “Sharon will be forever missed by her husband, sons, daughter in-laws, grandchildren and friends. We would like to sincerely thank the many healthcare professionals that cared for Sharon along the way.”
A service for Sharon will be held this summer.
BC Renal network members are grateful to Sharon for all her contributions and for being such an exemplary champion of advancing kidney disease awareness and care in BC.