Kelsi Ezell: "You Inspire Me" Award Winner

This story from our local KC newspaper tells a great story of a young person who has hung in there and overcome adversity. Kelsi Ezell is the receipient of my very first "You Inspire Me" award. Here are a few excerpts fom Kelsi's story:
Her cousin was murdered in 2004. Her aunt died suddenly. Her family adopted her cousin’s two little boys. And she suffered two strokes that left her with no peripheral vision in her left eye.
Quiet, shy and reserved, Kelsi acknowledges that her high school years were rough.

“I guess I was overwhelmed,” said the Kansas City resident. “Everything just got worse and worse. I was so scared. I would cry a lot by myself.”

Kelsi said her high school years had taught her a few things. She’ll “never, ever, ever” touch illicit drugs. Her zero-tolerance stance was shaped by her cousin, Jamie Wilson, who was killed in a drug-related shooting in Kansas City, Kan.

Kelsi said that she would drop any of her friends who used drugs. As a result, her circle of friends shrank dramatically — it’s now limited to her boyfriend and Ashley.

“It kinda sucks not to have friends because you’re making a good decision,” she said.
Life in the Ezell household became more chaotic in January 2006 when Kelsi noticed she couldn’t see.

“I thought I had something in my eye,” Kelsi said. “Then I had a CAT scan and that’s when they told me I had a stroke. They said it was small enough that I was lucky that my vision was the only thing affected.”

Again Kelsi had to adjust.

When Kelsi reads a book, she has to move her head. Putting on eye makeup used to take 30 seconds; now it takes five minutes. And Kelsi said she had actually become a better driver after the stroke because she was more alert.

This year, Kelsi won two scholarships — the Missouri Bright Flight scholarship, which is awarded to the top 3 percent of students taking the SAT or ACT, and the Horatio Alger scholarship, which is given to students who have overcome adversity. Kelsi will attend Park University this fall.
Bravo Kelso!! You inspire us!! Well done!! Best wishes for much success in school and in life.


  1. Wow! She's an amazing young woman and very deserving of an award for inspiring others!!!

  2. Interesting story.

    I like her stand for zero-tolerance of drugs. That takes courage.

  3. What a remarkable young lady, and I agree with Lorna about the courage it took to take the stand about drugs. Too often, we see kids are more interested in trying to be popular rather than trying to make good choices. This lady is going to go far in her life -- in some respects, she already has.


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