When you’re born with the desire to help others, no amount of obstacles can distract or deter you from your goal. You’re either the kind of person who scans a party to find the one person having a bad time and make them smile, or you’re not. The kind of person who will seek out pain and inspire hope, the kind of person who can always find humor in dark times. These people don’t come along often.
Kelly is one of these people.
Nowadays, you can find Kelly buried in textbooks at Illinois State University where she attends school. When she finishes her degree, she wants to find a job as a social worker or a special education teacher. “As long as I get to be around people with disabilities or people that need help,” Kelly told us, “I’ll be happy.” But one of the reasons Kelly will make such an excellent role model to others is because she herself knows how difficult it can be to be different. At elementary school during lunch time, she sat apart from her peers. She ate different foods than they did; watched as everyone else consumed anything they wanted without a second thought. Kelly never shared their careless attitude. Even at a young age, she was hyper-vigilant about what she ate. The wrong thing, one misstep, could be life-threatening.
Kelly has MSUD, an extremely rare metabolic condition. Because Kelly is missing an essential enzyme in her liver, she is not able to metabolize protein. Therefore, Kelly relies on a formula (fed to her through a G-tube) to receive the necessary minerals and compounds to keep her body alive. On top of that, she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at age 3.
The road to her dreams was not paved and clearly marked. Kelly had to carve it out. She could have just as easily stayed home, instead of joining a wheelchair basketball league where she played for years. It would have been less work for her to bypass community events instead of constantly asking her family or friends for rides. She didn’t have to volunteer at an animal shelter or clean up a local beach. No one asked her to. That’s specifically why she did.
The people that want to live life on a grander scale do not get entangled in the small details of why it shouldn’t work. The tiny “can’ts” and “buts” exist on a level far below them. Kelly has never taken the easy road. She has no interest in starting now. But she needed something she couldn’t get herself. The girl who had always helped everyone else her whole life finally needed something – and Chive Charities couldn’t be happier to step in.