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May 17, 2006
Contact: Mike Krings, University Relations, (785) 864-8860.

Graduation stories: Nurses inspire KU student to devote life to helping others

LAWRENCE — Limited mobility prevented Lindsey Edmonds from achieving her childhood dream of becoming a nurse, but it won’t stop her from helping people.

Born with spina bifida, a birth defect affecting the central nervous system, Edmonds was inspired by two nurses: her mother, Kristen Ericson, and Joyce Olson, who worked at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Lindsey and Joe Edmonds

Lindsey and Joe Edmonds

“Joyce Olson really affected my life,” Edmonds said.

She enrolled at Emporia State University but realized her limited mobility would pose difficulty for her in the field of nursing. So she transferred to Kansas State University and finished her bachelor’s degree in dietetics. She then passed her boards and became a licensed dietitian. She enrolled in the master’s program at the KU Medical Center and will graduate this month with a master’s in dietetics and nutrition.

She’ll take a job at Children’s Mercy Hospital as the education coordinator with Phit Club, a program that helps children and families deal with health issues such as obesity and help them make sound choices regarding nutrition.

“I’m really looking forward to getting started,” she said. “I’ll be doing the same kind of thing I hoped to, helping people.”

While earning her master’s, Edmonds worked as a trainee in the Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopment and Other Related Disabilities program at the KU Hospital. She helped individuals with spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

Edmonds’ father, Joe Edmonds, a custodial manager with the Department of Student Housing — who took his own unique path to a KU degree by waiting almost 20 years between starting and finishing college — said he admires the way his daughter overcame her obstacles to accomplish her goal of helping others.

“That’s just one of the reasons I’m proud of her,” he said.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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