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.