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Dishman Hills senior stands tall for underdog

Thu., May 22, 2014

Describing herself as a “little Chihuahua with a big bark,” Kayla Reedy doesn’t intimidate easily. At 5-feet tall, she is a Dishman Hills High School senior who sticks up for the underdog.

Once in science class, a fellow student was struggling to understand. Reedy stood up and voiced her concern to the teacher.

“I said, ‘Who doesn’t know what is going on in here?’ ” Reedy recalls. “ ‘I’ll stand up with you. Come on, stand up if you don’t know. This is a chance to learn more.’ ”

This outgoing 19-year old makes a point of making friends with everyone.

“If I see somebody that’s not with somebody, I tend to come converse,” Reedy said. “It makes that person’s day so much better.”

She discovered her passion for helping others while taking care of her grandmother.

“She was an inspiration in my life,” Reedy said of her grandmother who died two years ago. “She always told me to get it done and get it done right.”

This experience led her to explore a medical career. Having satisfied her graduation requirements early, she has been working full time as a home care aid for terminal patients since March. Reedy is responsible for taking care of three clients each week.

Reedy prides herself on “getting it done right” and tackles each challenge with determination and a positive outlook. She works hard to address each client’s special needs so they can remain living independently as long as possible.

“I love caring for people,” Reedy said. “Just the thought of them knowing someone cares for them and help them be more independent.”

Her determination came to a test when she was diagnosed three years ago with Celiac disease, a condition that makes a person intolerant to foods with wheat and gluten.

The diagnosis came after her grandfather discovered he had the disease. As it can be genetic, the entire family was tested. Reedy and her mother both tested positive, but her mother doesn’t exhibit symptoms.

“I’m the lucky one,” Reedy said laughing.

She continued to eat foods containing the allergen for two years after diagnosis. “I didn’t want to be on the gluten-free diet,” she said.

Reedy started experiencing severe health concerns, such as ulcers lining the interior of her neck and bleeding in the inner lining of her stomach. She went to a specialist, who put her on a special diet.

Reedy prepares more meals from scratch, including her favorite dish: beans, rice and tortillas with meat and salsa.

“I like spicy food,” she said. “If it’s not hot, it’s not good,”

This fall, Reedy plans to attend Spokane Community College to become an ultrasound technician.

“Her strongest attribute is perseverance,” Dishman Hills High School teacher Cheri Osmuss said. “She has overcome many personal challenges to succeed. She has grown from a tough kid to a determined kid with an incredibly soft heart.”

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