Doctor by Destiny
By NancyLee Honey Marsh
Photography by Christian Lee
“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.” Audrey Hepburn
Dr. Audrey Klenke, the only female cosmetic surgeon in Beaufort County, explained how plastic surgery became her passion. “Medicine, in general, was so exhilarating that it was challenging to narrow in on the perfect fit, until I became smitten with plastic surgery,” said Audrey.
“At first I thought I was destined for a career in languages or psychology, but the time I spent volunteering at a local hospital and working with cancer patients led me in another direction,” said Audrey, who has an undergraduate degree in Biopsychology from Vassar College and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Cincinnati. “After graduating from Vassar, I taught high school geophysics and biology. These experiences reinforced my desire for learning and gave me additional insight into how I wanted to shape my future.”
That is when Audrey, an Ohio native, decided to pursue a career in the medical field. “I love working with people and helping. I value the personal relationships that are such an essential part of practicing medicine,” she said. “When I was 14 years old, my grandfather died from complications of heart surgery. I remember being so amazed and impressed with his selflessness in donating his body for medical research.”
Anxious to find her medical niche, Audrey chose a plastic surgery residency program offering a “10,000-foot view,” with diverse learning opportunities and the ability to explore many areas of the specialty in detail. “I learned how to problem-solve using the fundamentals, but I then built on that knowledge base by incorporating art, understanding human form and by keeping up with the latest advancements in the field,” she said.
During her residency training, Audrey was humbled by experiences that helped shape her into the compassionate doctor she is today. “Certain patients stand out in my memory, and I learned that surgery is a powerful tool, which has the capacity to change someone’s life in a positive way.” Audrey fell in love with the Lowcountry while vacationing as a young girl, and she fell more in love with her future husband, who she met in a coffee shop while working on a presentation. A year later in April 2013, Audrey married Trevor Klenke in a quiet ceremony.
“Trevor’s grandfather and my grandmother were very ill, and though we had planned to marry, we were worried about the repercussions of waiting,” Audrey said. The couple transported Trevor’s grandfather from his nursing home across town to Audrey’s grandmother’s nursing home and held the ceremony in the library. “It was small, but just right,”
A nurse into her early 90s, Audrey’s grandmother has always been an inspiration to her. Even now at 98, she still sends Audrey medical articles to read.
Combining their unique backgrounds, Audrey and Trevor decided to blend their medical and business expertise and opened Pinnacle Plastic Surgery in Bluffton. The practice offers a wide range of options from detailed surgical solutions to non-invasive skin care programs and everything in between. “Trevor gave up a 10-year business career to join me in my practice as executive director,” she said. “Our trust in each other’s skills allows us to work smoothly as a team.”
Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. In her short time here, Audrey has already been voted “Best Doctor” in the Island Packet’s Readers’ Choice Awards and “Best Cosmetic Surgeon” by Sun Today readers in Sun City, evidencing the fact she autographs her work with excellence.
15 minutes of fame: “I sat next to Anne Hathaway in English class in college. I’m often told I look like her. I don’t see the resemblance!”
Ironic award: I won the 5th grade spelling bee with the word “dagger.”
A true friend: I’ve been caring for my college roommate’s plant for 14 years.
Awe-inspiring: Witnessing the emotional journey of cancer diagnosis and how patients endure the frightening and frustrating times, and often emerge with a smile.