News - McHenry County

Cary cheerleading coach, teacher who died after third battle with cancer named first-ever Woman of Inspiration

Kirk Hoeppel and his children, Mackenzie, Kayla and Ellie, accept the first Woman of Inspiration award for their wife and mother, Lisa Hoeppel, during the Northwest Herald's Women of Distinction award luncheon Wednesday June 29, 2022, at Boulder Ridge Country Club, 350 Boulder Drive in Lake in the Hills. The luncheon recognized 10 women in the community as Women of Distinction plus the first recipient of the Kelly Buchanan Woman of Inspiration award. Hoeppel was a volunteer cheer coach, a volunteer with school and other local organizations, and a substitute teacher. She succumbed to her third battle with breast cancer April 10 at the age of 40.

Lisa Hoeppel coached all three of her daughters while fighting breast cancer three times.

“You would never have known it, because she did all of this with a smile on her face,” said Katie Dumele, a cheer coach with the Cary Jr. Trojans Cheer.

Hoeppel, who died in April at the age of 40, was nominated as a Woman of Distinction, but was instead named the first-ever recipient of the Kelly Buchanan Woman of Inspiration during a luncheon Wednesday.

The award is named for the former McHenry County Magazine niche publication manager, who came up with the idea for Women of Distinction. It was launched 10 years ago in the May 2010 edition of McHenry County Magazine.

“Much like Hoeppel, Buchanan was someone cheering from behind the scenes, creating opportunities to raise people up, to recognize them for their impact in the community and support others,” Melissa Riske wrote for the Northwest Herald in its event program.

This year’s 10 women recognized as Women of Distinction also include Catherine Peterson, dean of Aurora University Woodstock; Cathy Daharsh, senior pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake; Laura King, chief of police for the McHenry County Conservation District; Kim Ulbrich, executive director for the McHenry County Housing Authority; Kimberly Dahlem; assistant superintendent for student services and special education for Community High School District 155; Brenda Napholz, president and founder of The Break Crystal Lake Teen Center; Terry Willcockson, city of Woodstock’s grants manager; Laura Evers, owner of First Place Promotions and Awards in Harvard; Guadalupe Ortiz, executive director for the Youth and Family Center of McHenry County; and Cheryl Wormley, publisher of The Woodstock Independent.