Hello Neighbor | Kendall Kemm, Everyday Hero
Kendall Kemm is sweet, kind and totally amazing. I wish I had an even better word than "amazing" to introduce her to you all. Three years ago, with no warning, she suffered a stroke from an Arteriovenus Malformation (AVM) that had been hiding in her head. Since then, while taking care of her own health, she has raised well over $200,000 to donate towards AVM research and patient care. Her concern for other kids who have or will have AVMs makes Kendall an Everyday Hero to her friends and family. I got to meet up with Kendall at one of her recent softball games to see her in action. With her good hand - her right - she developed a really awesome move of flipping off her glove so she can throw the ball. She pitches for her team with the help of a teammate who fields the ball at the mound. Kendall is truly an inspiration to her team, her family and our community.
I am Kendall Kemm, an energetic, fun-loving, people pleasing 8th grader at Valley Forge Middle School. I am the current secretary of student council and secretly love to party plan everything from birthday parties to school dances. When I’m with my family I like to go out to dinner and talk with everyone. I love to laugh, smile and sing. We love to play “name that tune” and make dance videos on musically. When I’m with my friends I like to hang out and play games. I like when everyone gets along and I try hard to make sure no one is ever left out. I feel sad when people’s feelings are hurt and I try to include all the different groups at school. When I’m with my dog, Bodhi I like to take him on walks around the neighborhood or just play and rub his belly. My brother and I always fight over who is going to wipe his paws when he comes in from the rain and who has to pick up his poop.
I started Kendall’s Crusade in 5th grade to help patients that didn’t have the money or the right help to find the doctor’s needed to help cure their AVMs and anuersyms. In the past two years we have raised over $235,000 with the events that we have had. The events featured our friend Craig Shoemaker, a comedian, to let everyone laugh and have a good time while raising money for research at Stanford University and Jefferson Hospital. My mom Leslie is the driving force behind the crusade and my biggest supporter (I think this is where I get my love of party planning from).
When I had my stroke I wanted to still be out on the softball field and at school with all my friends. I wanted to be able to run on the track and do the things I use to do. It happened right before Halloween and I all wanted to do was go trick or treating with all my friends. I was surprised at all the support that I got from my friends and family when I was in the hospital. So many people came to see me and I got all kinds of cards, stuffed animals and fluffy socks. I was also surprised when I got out of the hospital that I recovered so quickly and then after I had my radiation my deficits came back, which made me sad. A year later I was excited to play softball again and be back at school like a normal kid again. I wanted to help those who have AVMs and wanted to work on getting full use of my hand and foot again.
My goals include becoming a normal kid again and having the use of my hand and foot so I can do normal everyday things. I also love animals and giving radio interviews. I want to own a farm and be on the radio, who knows maybe I can do both. I hope to make a difference by getting the kids who need help the right doctor and medical help so they can get back to doing the things they use to do.
Playing softball makes me feel normal. Softball has helped me gain more self-confidence and feel accomplished. The best part of being on a team is being with my friends and getting to play the sport that I love. My teammates make me feel like a normal kid and just another part of the team.
My motto is “Don’t bring down my positive.” My wish for you is to live a happy and healthy life and appreciate what you have.
Photography and interview by Emily Brunner Photography
To find out how you can help Kendall's Crusade visit www.kendallscrusade.org/.
To follow Kendall's story as she continues to do awesome work for VFM research and patients visit Kendall's Crusade on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KendallsCrusade/
To find out more about T&E Care's Everyday Heroes visit www.tecare.org/