Kendra Gottsleben is coming to town. Many in the area already know this talented young lady. This trip to Iowa, she is bringing her book.
Kendra will host her second Emmetsburg book signing event this Saturday, Aug. 4, at Emmetsburg Public Library. She will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and invites people to the library to say hello and have a glass of lemonade.
"I am very excited to have my second book signing event in Emmetsburg, because the town has been like a second hometown to me," said Kendra. "Rarely do I come to town feeling like a guest. It has always been a response of welcoming an old friend back to town, no matter if I am at church, the grocery store, or at the annual St. Patrick's Day parade."
BOOK SIGNING -- Kendra Gottsleben will hold a book signing event at Emmetsburg Public Library this Saturday, Aug. 4. She is the granddaughter of Jeanne and the late Maurice Drew of Cylinder.
She added, "There is a saying that reads, 'It takes a village to raise a child.' In my opinion, Emmetsburg is part of that village that raised me. The countless friends, family members, and other community members in Emmetsburg have always shared their compassion towards me and for that I feel fortunate! I am blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life and that is why I am honored to share my book with the great town of Emmetsburg!"
At age four, Kendra was diagnosed with a rare disorder called Mucopolysaccharidois, Type VI (MPS VI), also known as Maroteaux-Lamy. She describes the disease in her book:
"In a 'normal' body, mucopolysaccarides, or long chains of sugar molecules, are used in the building of connective tissues in a body. 'Saccaride' is a common term for a sugar molecule, 'poly' meaning many, and 'muco' refers to the thick jelly-like consistency of the molecules. Typically everyone's body goes through a constant process of replacing used materials and breaking them down for removal. Children with Maroteaux-Lamy are missing the enzyme Arylsulfatase B, which is necessary for cutting up the mucopolysaccarides. The mucopolysaccarides that do not break down stay stored in cells in the body causing progressive damage. I compare the build-up in my body to a rubber cement like glue that builds up in my connective tissue and organs. My cells do not cleanse themselves, which causes the gluey like substance to build up and make my joints stiff."
That's about as technical as Kendra's book gets. She mostly talks about living, laughing and taking the lemons life has served up and making them into lemonade.
Family has been a very important part of Kendra's life. The inscription in the book to her grandma, Jeanne Drew, reads: "Grandma Thank you for always being there for me! I am very blessed to have you in my life! You are an amazing grandma! I love you so so so much!!"
Family and friends have been there for Kendra's journey through the medical world and her journey through school as she worked to beat the odds. She was part of an enzyme clinical research trail at Children's Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, CA. She graduated from Vermillion High School and in 2010 she graduated from Augustana College with a double major in sociology and psychology..
Who inspires Kendra? "I am inspired by people who make the decision to never give up on themselves or on what they want to achieve during their lifetime," she writes. Chapters of her book are dedicated to family members and friends and how they all played a role in Kendra achieving her goals.
Throughout the book there are snippets Kendra has written over time. There is a section of photos from birth to today. It's an upbeat account of a young lady making her way in the world.
"I'm a believer that the attitude we take in life is what helps us succeed in everything we set out to do," says Kendra, the author.
She is currently working at the Center for Disabilities, Department of Pediatrics, Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls, SD. Her career blends the two worlds in which she grew up: medicine and education. Her goal is to help families and children who have a severe or life-threatening illness or disability.
The public is invited to meet Kendra this Saturday at Emmetsburg Public Library.