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Sister Inspired To Help Others After Loss Of Sibling In Tragic Accident

HARTFORD COURANT | Sara Cody

Cheryl Waltman is a physician’s assistant on the transplant team at Hartford Hospital. (Provided by Cheryl Waltman)
It was getting late one evening in September of 1995. Cheryl Waltman — then 12 years old — remembers looking out her bedroom window as a police officer entered her East Hampton driveway. He was delivering tragic, unexpected news.

"It was a dark time when the world seemed to stop for about two weeks," says Waltman.

Her sister, Renee Beaulieu, who was just 16, was driving home from a friend's house when her car swerved, hit a tree, then a stone wall and flipped over. The teen was flown by Life Star helicopter to Hartford Hospital, where she was pronounced brain dead. She became an organ donor, starting a journey continued by Waltman, now a physician's assistant with the organ transplant team at the hospital where Beaulieu was treated.

"My father was actually first to notice that my career path has taken me through each experience my sister had the night of her accident," says Waltman, who was fascinated by the TV show "Rescue 911" when she was young. During college, as she was studying to become an athletic trainer, she felt the need to help others. "I started fluffing pillows at a local emergency room, offering magazines, kind of watching what people were doing," says Walkman. Continue reading

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