Katie Rudy, RN, BSN, CPHON, had just begun her nursing career in 2005 when her brother, Richard, died in a car accident. Losing him completely changed my life, she says. No words can express the pain of losing a loved one, and I think my personal experiences allow me to better help my patients and their families in difficult times.
Rudy, a nurse on the pediatric inpatient oncology/hematology/bone marrow transplant unit at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, channeled her grief into fundraising to make a difference and to celebrate my brother as well as help others, she says.Katie Rudy, RN, holds a poster announcing the RJR Memorial Car Show, an event she started five years ago in memory of her deceased brother.
In memory of her brother, who had an immense love for cars, Rudy started the RJR Memorial Car Show, which will celebrate its five-year anniversary this summer. It has grown tremendously and was even featured on an episode of American Chopper, she says, adding that she also established a memorial fund in her brothers name.
Through the memorial fund, Rudy has reached out to charities that directly donate to children and families in need, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Hudson Valley, the Brian Ahearn Children’s Fund, the Marisa Fund and the Bryans Dream Foundation. Donations are invaluable to families experiencing tragedy and facing subsequent financial difficulties, Rudy says, and they have allowed her patients to experience things they may not have been able to otherwise.
In addition to her position at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and her fundraising activities, Rudy also balances a full-time nurse practitioner courseload and works one day a week as a clinical educator at an area university, taking time to teach nursing students in clinical rotation. She has a strong passion for nursing and wants to ensure that the nursing students she teaches benefit from her passion. I take great pride in being a nurse, she says. It is a part of who I am.
Rudy believes her life has been touched by the patients and families for whom she cares. Helping others remains the driving force behind her career and in her life outside of work, she says. I experience amazing moments on a daily basis that make me say, This is why I do what I do, Rudy says. I love what I do, and it is worth all of the hard work.