I am Kendra, and my life has been defined by maintaining a positive outlook and success in overcoming obstacles. I was diagnosed with a rare disease called Mucopolysaccararidosis Type VI (MPS VI) also known as Maroteaux-Lamy at age four. There are about 100 people in the United States with MPS VI. This condition entails my body missing an enzyme needed to cleanse my cells, which results in a buildup of a gluey-like substance that affects my heart, eyes, connective tissue and other vital organs. Every obstacle I have encountered in life resulted in me gaining something positive from them. For instance, MPS has led to many amazing experiences and allowed me to meet many incredible people along the way. If I had been born differently, I would not be the person I am today. I am an author, speaker and advocate. My philosophy is to acknowledge that I cannot always choose my obstacles, but I can choose my attitude. Accepting my uniqueness is part of the journey I take every day.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in a world of butterflies and rainbows twenty-four seven. I have had plenty of moments where I have been frustrated with the challenges I have been given. However, I don’t allow myself to dwell on them for too long. I know that feeling sorry for myself won’t get me anywhere. Those challenges make me more determined to keep moving forward.
The physical challenges I have are easily visible to anyone who looks at me. Being in a wheelchair and being 40 inches tall is definitely impossible for others to miss. People have doubted me, and I know it. However, learning to accept myself has been key to my happiness. I try to surround myself with people who believe in me and support my dreams, but even when that’s not possible, I work even harder to help others get to know me for me.
My ambition in life is to be a helpful resource to provide support for families and children who have severe or life-threatening illnesses or disabilities. I want to give back to the world which has given me so many blessings! I live life to the fullest by smiling, laughing and taking the lemons that life has served up and making them into the BEST lemonade possible. ~ Kendra G.