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Late St. Mary’s nurse remembered as ‘heartbeat of the unit’

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Employees at St. Mary’s Hospital are grieving over the loss of one of their nurses who was killed in an accident involving an alleged drunk driver earlier this month.

Through tears, Kristen Walker talks about the day that changed work as she knew in the orthopedic spine unit at St. Mary’s Hospital.

“I received a phone call Friday morning from my co-worker and I just couldn’t believe it,” Lesley Andorful’s co-worker,  Kristen Walker, said. “She was definitely the heartbeat of the unit.”

Lesley Andorful

Lesley Andorful

Fellow nurse, and single mother of three Lesley Andorful had been struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver May 5 on her way home from buying gifts for her children’s teachers for teacher appreciation week.

“There’s definitely a void that will never be filled,” Lesley’s brother, Joseph Andorful, said.

Andorful said his big sister lit up a room and that her greatest passions in life were her three children, her family and her job as an RN.

“She loved being a nurse and I think that shows in the response we are receiving from St. Mary’s,” Andorful said.

Joseph Andorful

Joseph Andorful

“Whatever we were to each other that we still are,” read Walker.

Walker practiced a poem she was going to recite at a memorial Wednesday at St. Mary’s Hospital Chapel for her friend ,whose legacy she says her unit vows to carry on.

“It was definitely like family. When we got the call,  it just broke everyone in pieces, it still is. We try to keep it together upstairs and talk about her memories,” Walker said.
“She’d probably be kicking me right now for crying.”

nurses

Andorful's co-workers are making scrapbooks and sharing memories to remember their friend. They have also  started a fund for her three children.

Andorful’s kids, ages 15, 12 and 5 attended school the day after the accident in honor of their mother who instilled in them the importance of education.

“They are all really good students and they want to continue that as a way of honoring their mother,” Andorful's brother said.

Andorful  was in the process of buying a home and getting her master’s degree in nursing.

Her family is holding a celebration of life for her in Northern Virginia next month.

Fifty-nine-year-old Donna M. Browning, of the 6300 block of Old Zion Hill Road in Chesterfield, was charged with driving while intoxicated in connection to the crash that killed Andorful.