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Jenny Gray

A Health Matters Hero inspires those around them and contributes to a culture of well-being for fellow State of Idaho employees.

Health Matters Hero: Jenny Gray
June 2020

Congratulations, Jenny!
Jenny works for Panhandle Health District in Hayden and was nominated to be June’s Health Matters Hero! Jenny has overcome significant health challenges and is a inspiring example of perseverance and resilience. One coworker described her as “the bravest woman she has ever met!
WHAT IS YOUR ‘WHY‘?

First and foremost, my son. He has been my biggest motivation for pushing through some very scary health scenarios the last couple of years. When faced with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis while I was pregnant, my biggest fear was that I would not be here to raise him with my husband- that in itself drove me to get through some pretty brutal surgeries and treatment. I want to set an example for him of what perseverance and determination look like. I also want to educate him as he grows up about people with physical differences and emphasize the importance of accepting all people as they are.

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

My mom is my biggest inspiration. She battled brain cancer for 18 years and faced the challenges brought about by that with courage and grace. When I was confronted with days where I felt completely overwhelmed and ready to give up, I thought of my mom and how she battled through and that boosted my morale. Through my family’s dealings with cancer and now with my entry into the amputee world, I have met some incredibly brave, tough, kind, talented (there aren’t enough adjectives) people! Those folks inspire me daily.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WELL-BEING ACHIEVEMENT?

Surviving the year 2017! We made it through a bone cancer diagnosis, amputation, having a baby, being new parents, and a high-dose chemotherapy regimen.

WHAT IS A GOAL YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

Last fall, I applied for a grant to receive a running prosthesis through the Challenged Athletes Foundation (a phenomenal organization that I encourage everyone to learn more about and support). I recently learned that I am a grant recipient and will be receiving the running leg sometime soon, so I have been working on building up my core strength and my balance in preparation for learning how to run again. Running was a huge part of my life prior to losing my leg and I cannot wait to get back at it!

HOW DO YOU STAY WELL AT WORK?

Luckily, my job has some field-going aspects to it, so I’m in and out of the office which is nice because it allows for movement throughout the day. Additionally, my co-workers are all awesome people and I enjoy visiting with them and building valuable relationships.

FREE WRITE! IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?

I would like to thank all of my co-workers for their continued support the last couple of years- you are all wonderful people!

And second, I’d like to share a quote that a former co-worker gave me right after my diagnosis. It has been my motto: “When life hands you lemons, make grape juice and then sit back and watch as the world wonders how you did it.”

Jenny Gray hiking
Jenny out hiking!
Jenny with her husband, Mick, and son, Dillon.

A HEALTH MATTERS HERO…

Leads by example and is a model to other employees.

Consistently exhibits behaviors that support physical, mental, and social well-being.

Actively supports the well-being of those around them.

Past Health Matters Heroes: Allison Palmer / Stephanie Holt / Pete Petersen / Sammy Warren

Any state employee can nominate a colleague who is making a positive impact on health and well-being within their workplace. One Health Matters Hero will be featured every month.

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