I watched an Oprah: Where are They Now? special tonight that featured Kendall Ceisemier, an incredible young woman who, after watching an Oprah Christmas special about the AIDS epidemic in Africa and how it was affecting children, came downstairs to her parents with about $360 stuffed in an envelope (all she had) so she could adopt a little African girl who had lost both of her parents from AIDS. From then on, Kendall vowed to do whatever she could for the children of Africa affected by the horrific disease. She even started her own organization, Kids Caring 4 Kids, to help raise money. When she was featured on the Oprah show for the first time with President Bill Clinton, she vowed to raise $1,000,000 for the cause. Today she’s raised about $950,000 and is making a difference as a college student at Georgetown University.
What’s even more amazing about this giving young woman is she herself had struggled at a very young age. She was born with a rare liver disease and had to have two liver transplants before she even graduated high school. She says she still struggles with her health from time to time and probably always will, but she refuses to let it hold her back or interfere with her mission and that in fact, her health obstacles are what inspired her so deeply to help other children.
As someone also born with some physical obstacles, I can completely relate to wanting to help others. I’ve always identified with people who have struggled, people who felt different and people who were born into unfair circumstances like children in African who became orphaned because their parents died of AIDS in a place where the resources just aren’t there for people who get infected. I have a lot of catching up to do to even come anywhere near this awesome young lady though!
Kendall, you’re not just my inspiration of the day…you’re my inspiration of a lifetime! Here’s a piece that Glamour did on Kendall. She was chosen as one of the Top 10 College Women of 2014. You can follow her on Twitter also at @kciesemier.