President & CEO Richie Splitt hands the Spirit of Wellness trophy to Karen Saunkeah

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Norman Regional Health System honored Karen Saunkeah as this year’s Spirit of Wellness winner.

Spirit of Wellness Award

Norman Regional’s mission is to serve its community as the leader in health and wellness care. Norman Regional not only makes that mission a priority with community members, but also with its healers within the health system.

Throughout the year, Norman Regional’s Wellness Committee honors healers who make healthy living a priority in their life and help facilitate a culture of wellness in the workplace then chooses one Spirit of Wellness winner.

“We want to recognize those healers who have made substantial changes in their health and wellness, as well as share their wellness journey with everyone at NRHS,” said Amber Browning with the Wellness Committee.

Learn about this year's winner

Karen, RN, nurse navigator for the Norman Regional Breast Care Center, was first nominated for exercising on a regular basis, serving as a healthy role model, promoting and actively practicing stress reduction techniques and making a healthy lifestyle change. She stood out as the winner because of her devotion to her patients. Karen has worked for Norman Regional for 39 years and helped open the Breast Care Center in 2000. She started free yoga classes at Norman Regional for cancer survivors and has provided a monthly breast cancer support group for the past 15 years.

After her treatment for breast cancer in 1999 she felt very weak, both physically and emotionally, but in 2001 she attended an introductory yoga class. Six months later her husband had back pain and began to attend with her. They also started Weight Watchers together and that is their “go to” for weight loss.

Karen said she was pleasantly surprised to be selected as this year’s winner.

“I was very pleasantly surprised,” Karen said. “I thought that since I was older than the other finalists, and not in as good physical shape, that I wouldn’t be selected. I think I won because over the years if I found something that helped me physically or emotionally to feel better, I have always shared that with my patients.

“It’s very satisfying to be recognized for my work by the healthcare system I have worked for so many years. I smile every time I think about it. Receiving this award has motivated me to continue working hard every day for my breast cancer patients.”

Karen’s favorite healthy food is a cedar planked grilled salmon that her husband makes with fresh steamed asparagus. Her favorite activities are yoga and walking.

Karen’s life motto is, “Do your best not to dwell on the bad in the past. Live for today.”

Congratulations, Karen on being a Spirit of Wellness for Norman Regional!