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Connections: Seeing Red

By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
Kendall ’24 turns challenging diagnosis into opportunity to educate, organize and inspire 
Elsa Kendall ’24 is seeing red these days, and that is a good thing. March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, and Kendall is on a mission to spread awareness and education. Kendall suffers from hemophilia, a medical condition in which the ability of the blood to clot is severely reduced. This means even minor injuries can be dangerous for those with hemophilia. 
 
Kendall was diagnosed at age six, though her parents had been concerned when she was an infant and would bruise easily. Because hemophilia is rarer in females, doctors did not initially test for it in Kendall. It wasn’t until kindergarten that she received the diagnosis that would change her life and ignite a passion.
 
Even at such a young age, Kendall learned how to use extra caution in her daily life. Contact sports were not an option, and the most significant concerns were head injuries and nose bleeds. 
Says Kendall, “I had to be a lot more cautious than most kids and learned to be aware of my surroundings at all times.”
 
At age 8, Kendall, who was born in Seattle, moved with her family to Richmond and it was here, close to the nation’s capital, that her interest in advocating for those with blood disorders took root. She began lobbying before the General Assembly both on a state level in Richmond and on a national level in Washington, D.C. Her work through the Virginia Hemophilia Foundation taught her advocacy skills like public speaking and self-advocacy. “My mom was the advocacy co-chair for the Virginia Hemophilia Foundation (VHF), and our family became involved in working to help affect change and legislation around bleeding disorders,” says Kendall.
 
Kendall turned what could have been a defeating diagnosis into an opportunity to educate others and engage in life-changing experiences.
 
“Learning how legislation is created and spending the day on Capitol Hill, getting to see the government’s innerworkings and get to see the impact that you have on it, is amazing. It personalizes the process and you get to tell your story to a group of people who didn't know it before,” Kendall explained. 
 
Kendall has also found a community of others who have bleeding disorders and appreciates the sense of camaraderie among the group, especially other females dealing with hemophilia. She has also participated in some unique experiences, like leading her 6th grade class in a genetics lesson. “My science teacher asked me to teach the lesson because the textbook was out of date and said that women could not get hemophilia,” she said. 
 
Kendall also participated in CSL Behring Junior National Championship in Phoenix, Arizona in 2019. This event was a three day event for children with bleeding disorders in which they can compete in three non-contact sports (swimming, baseball, and golf) while also meeting with 
professionals in those sports. Kendall worked with Perry Parker, a professional golfer and golf pro who has hemophilia. Kendall even won the long drive competition!
 
In 2020, Kendall attended the Rare Disease Week at National Institutes of Health library in Bethesda, Maryland. Among the special events during the week, Kendall was able to tour the library and see where PubMed.gov, a collection of more than 32 million biomedical scholarly articles, is run. For this aspiring librarian, it was an inspiring experience. Kendall hopes to double major in English and Spanish, and then earn a master’s degree in library science, possibly becoming a youth services librarian. 
 
It is clear from her passion, poise, and conviction that Kendall will have an impact wherever she goes. She has a perspective that enables her to see opportunities where others see limits. This combination bodes well not only for Kendall’s future but for all with blood disorders, so that soon we may all be seeing more red.
 
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About “Connections”

Connections is a regular online column, written from the first-person perspective of Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement:

In this space, I have the privilege of sharing stories of Trinity students, alumni, and faculty and staff who are carrying our mission beyond the boundaries of campus. Many of these stories might not make the headlines, but they will illustrate how every member of the Trinity community has a unique path to discover, and the ability to make an impact on both the Trinity community and the world beyond.

I am fortunate to have been a part of this community since my own adolescence. I have been a student, a teacher, a coach, and an administrator, and in these roles I have witnessed the school’s growth and evolution through the years. We have grown in size as well as spirit.

Stories here will capture how seeds planted at Trinity have taken root and flourished into full-grown passions. You’ll also read stories of those in our community who bring their gifts from outside to help us learn. At Trinity, we seek to develop lifelong learners, and stories here will illustrate real-life examples of that beautiful symbiosis.

Read more "Connections"

List of 20 news stories.

  • Connections: Seeing Red

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Kendall ’24 turns challenging diagnosis into opportunity to educate, organize and inspire 
    Read More
  • Leading by Design

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Walker ’23 explores leadership through art in VMFA Leaders in Training Program
    Read More
  • Ski Lessons

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Daglio sisters find parallels between skiing and school
    Read More
  • Acts of Random Kindness

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Senior JD Dabney reflects on how building relationships and sharing personal stories can help change the world, one small step at a time
    Read More
  • Building Virtual Space

    Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00 Head of Community Engagement
    Longing for familiarity of Trinity campus, students create online version with Minecraft
    Read More
  • Community Service in Quarantine

    Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00
    Despite social distancing, Browder-Jones ’21 continues to feed her passion for serving others
    Read More
  • The Basis of Harmony

    Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Bassist Madeline Brooks ’21 shares her love of music with younger children
    Read More
  • On Guard

    Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Justin Dabney ’21 applies lessons learned in fencing to school and life 
    Read More
  • A Thankful Season Indeed

    Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    In a season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the depth of relationships and experiences that being a part of the Trinity community allows. This column is a reflection about the emotions of the fall; vibrant, bittersweet, and overwhelmingly full of gratitude. 
    Read More
  • Making Waves

    Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Alice Phillips commemorates Titan swimmers' past community service efforts with a return to the water this fall
    Read More
  • Moved to Action

    Laura Hamlin Weiler '00, Head of Community Engagement
    Inspired by visiting Chapel speaker, Madigan ’21 learns Arabic to better support area refugees.
    Read More
  • A Team Player

    Laura Hamlin Weiler '00, Head of Community Engagement
    For state golfer of the year Garrett Kuhla ’22, trust built with teammates on the golf course translates to leadership in the classroom.
    Read More
  • The Long Run

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Looking Back on 30 Years at Trinity with Head of School Rob Short
    Read More
  • Raising the Bar

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Colin Goodpasture’s ’19 discovers joy and passion in service of "beautiful cause"
    Read More
  • Lightning in a Bottle

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Two generations of Sneads team up to fulfill lofty dreams
    Read More
  • McKinley ’18, Callaway ’15 and Calder Sprinkle ’21 have each found unique paths within and beyond Trinity's music and performing arts programs.

    A Melodic Symbiosis

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Three siblings find harmony in Trinity's music program and beyond.
    Read More
  • From the Midwest to Trinity: A Convergence of Values

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    "I lived for five years in the Midwest, and I loved it. The people were so nice. The people were so open."
    — John Irving, author
    Read More
  • Not So Sleeping Giant

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Junior Sydney Whiting exemplifies perseverance in her rigorous swimming schedule, competing for both NOVA Swimming and Trinity.
    Read More
  • Throwing Lessons: Beyond the Wheel with Molly Sanyour ’01

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    A true lifelong learner, Trinity alum and ceramics teacher brings passion for creativity and globe-spanning experiences into the classroom
    Read More
  • Caroline Benedetti spent twelve days on a National Geographic Student Expedition, a special program for budding photographers.

    Discover Your Talents

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Three Trinity students follow their passions to unique places over the summer of 2018
    Read More
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