Alabama Public Television Young Heroes of 2019
Alabama Public Television Education

Alabama Public Television Young Heroes of 2019

Kathryn Anderson

Madison, Alabama
Bob Jones High School

When Kathryn Anderson was just 19-months-old, she suffered her first grand mal seizure, beginning a lifelong medical journey. For years, she has battled seizures, asthma, and other conditions. Through extensive medical testing, The Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine at HudsonAlpha Institute for Technology confirmed that Kathryn suffers from both Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD). EDS cause chronic pain, fatigue and frequent joint dislocations. MCAD is an immunologic disorder resulting in a range of chronic systems, including random allergic reactions.

Many mornings when Kathryn wakes, she must relocate her shoulder or hip before getting out of bed to begin her day. While ongoing physical therapy helps, EDS leaves Kathryn living in pain and, as of today, there is no cure for the condition. The MCAD leaves her skin irritated.

Striving to live as normally as possible, Kathryn has studied piano and voice. She has taken karate lessons and participates in youth sports, with cheerleading her favorite. While Kathryn enjoys all these activities, she struggles with the ongoing pain and joint dislocations.

Kathryn has a spirit of serving others. Recognizing the many children in need in her own community, Kathryn founded the “Stockings of Hope” program in 2013. Each year, she partners with area businesses to collect items for underprivileged children. She then seeks out organizations and school systems where the needs are the greatest to receive these items. Stockings of Hope has grown tremendously, serving approximately 1,000 children. Kathryn was recognized for this remarkable community service with WHNT TV’s “Pay It Forward” Award, and she was a finalist for the Catalyst Center’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Stockings of Hope was also a service project for Bob Jones High School. For Kathryn’s project, the school was awarded the Children’s First Award at the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) State Convention.

Kathryn has maintained a strong academic record, with a 3.9 GPA. She was selected to serve on the Leadership Team for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes all four years of high school. Additionally, she is active in the National Honor Society and the National English Honor Society, and she serves as a Senator for the Student Government Association.

Kathryn volunteers with her church. She also holds a part-time job, working with the Pre-K students in the city school system’s extended day program. Her goals include pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education and making a difference in the lives of children.

For her generosity of spirit, her commitment to hard work, and her perseverance in the face of physical difficulties, Kathryn is recognized by her school and our state as one of the five 2019 Young Heroes of Alabama.

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The Young Heroes Program is made possible through the support of:

Rosa Parks Museum
Signs Now
Blue Cross Blue Shiled of Alabama
SEI Group
Medical Property Trust
Precision Graphics