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The handwritten letter that came across the desk of IU Health President and CEO Dennis Murphy in early March at first seemed simply to be a very nice note from the spouse of an IU Health team member. The salutation of the message read:
My name is Andy. You don’t know me, but I thought I should drop you this note …
Andy Hornyak explained in his letter that he appreciates the way the organization treats its employees, including his wife, Linda, who took a job as a senior compensation consultant with IU Health in 2019, when the couple moved to Indianapolis from Valparaiso to be closer to their son.
“I was impressed,” the 67-year-old Hornyak said in a conversation a few weeks after he sent the letter. “I just like the way they did everything.” Especially impressive, he said, is the way IU Health has operated during the pandemic. “The way they communicate and the things they do for their employees is just amazing,” he said.
In his letter to Murphy, Hornyak said:
I could end this note right now and you would just take it as a happy camper just letting you know how they felt.
But Hornyak continued writing.
In November, he had the opportunity to see IU Health from a different perspective – and to be equally impressed.
Having begun to experience shortness of breath, just before Thanksgiving last year, Hornyak went to see his doctor. After a series of visits with Damien Patel, MD, and Chad Denlinger, MD, Hornyak learned that he had a rare form of cancer, and it needed quick attention: A tumor that essentially had been free-floating in his pulmonary artery had moved into his lung.“By the time I got the diagnosis, Dr. Denlinger told me, ‘You can do nothing and fold up the tent pretty quickly, or we can go in and take the tumor out,’” Hornyak said.
He reflected on this moment in his letter to Murphy by saying:
Needless to say, I went with his recommendation, and here I am.
Treatment required removing one of Hornyak’s lungs. In the aftermath, he was impressed to learn that the team had conducted an ultrasound while he was still in surgery, to make sure he didn’t have any cancer remaining. Because the surgery was so successful, he did not need subsequent radiation or chemotherapy.
“I really feel that if I hadn’t been living in Indianapolis, we wouldn’t have caught it as quickly as we did and I would have been losing out because of it,” Hornyak said. “I feel really blessed.”
And because he felt so blessed by IU Health, Hornyak felt he should let the CEO know.
Hornyak concluded his letter to Murphy by saying:
I just thought you might like to hear about your team. They are the best. You should be proud.
If you would like to learn more about cancer care innovation and how you can make a gift to support cancer care, please consider making a donation to the IU Health Foundation.