Kendyl and Friends Foundation P.O. Box 298 Burgin, KY 40310
At a mere three weeks of age, Kendyl began having seizures and was transported to the University of Kentucky Hospital. After many extensive tests, Kendyl was diagnosed with meningitis and she slipped into a coma.
After two weeks of excruciating treatment without any signs of improvement, doctors told her parents that there was nothing more they could do for her. Kendyl was then given a prognosis of only living to be two months old and if by the grace of God, she surpassed that time frame, she would be in a vegetable-like state, relying on machines to keep her alive. It was suggested that her parents call in the family to say their goodbyes because Kendyl would not make it much longer. Fortunately, her parents knew their child was a fighter. They knew they served a higher God that was watching over her. They refused to give up on Kendyl!
Several days later, Kendyl began showing positive responses to the medication and she woke from her coma. Although the virus that attacked her central nervous system caused her to have several hundred-thousand micro mini-strokes and seizures, Kendyl began getting stronger and stronger every day!
Twenty-one days later, Kendyl was released from the hospital and began to live life, at home, with her family.
After being released from the hospital, her parents thought the worse was over, and despite the amount of therapies Kendyl’s received, she struggled to meet simple milestones. Her parents made the decision to transfer Kendyl’s medical care to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she underwent further testing, determining she only had fifteen percent of her brain that was formed and functioning, had seven brain tumors, she was partially blind in both eyes, would be non-verbal, and would be wheelchair dependent for the rest of her life. Her medical team agreed that Kendyl would suffer from seizures, would not live much of a normal life, and would lose her battle as an early adolescent.
Her parents were crushed to hear this news but vowed they would do whatever it took to allow Kendyl to experience everything her peers did and once again defile the odds of living a normal life. With assistance from her mom, Kendyl participated in baseball, cheerleading, basketball, ballet, and all activities that her classmates did.
Her mom quickly saw the need for inclusive recreation equipment while assisting Kendyl on the playground during a Kindergarten field trip. Not being able to carry Kendyl or navigate her wheelchair throughout the playground broke her heart while watching Kendyl cry, not understanding why she could not participate. That is when Kendyl and Friends Foundation was founded to focus on community inclusion, so children of all abilities could participate, learn, and grow together!
After a short five months and twenty-two days, the founding board members had fundraised enough money to build Kendyl and Friends Playground, an inclusive playground that includes fully accessible flooring, inclusive play towers that are accessible via ramps, wheelchair accessible swings, mirage/inclusive swings, wheelchair accessible merry-go-round, sensory/communication, and other adaptive, ADA, inclusive equipment.
Seeing the need for inclusive programs, our organization founded The Overcomer Baseball League. This unique league is modified to allow all participants with disabilities and special needs the opportunity to participate in America’s greatest sport! Trained volunteers assist players throughout the game while their parents get to sit in the stands and cheer for their children, while bonding with other families who share a common understanding of caring for those with disabilities.
Our organization works year-round to meet and exceed the needs of those we serve. Recognizing that play, socialization, and group activities are a vital part of development, our organization provides equipment insurance does not cover, in addition to routinely providing individuals the opportunity to attend therapeutic camps and/or taking learning/experience trips to places where their development will be stimulated.
We operate solely from donations from generous donors to provide experiences in a safe environment, one in which is designed to suit many special needs. Integrated programs help in an abundance of ways: development of fine and gross motor skills, social skills, independence, self-esteem, cerebral functions, physical strength, receptive communication skills, coordination, and balance
Our mission is unique, and we have a strong record of dedicated volunteers who provide leadership and financial support to the programs we offer. Our team is driven by a spirit of collaboration and guided by a result-based framework to provide better, and safer inclusive opportunities that allow those with special needs the ability to be more active in their community.