Kristin Hodges is a senior in her fifth year at UCA studying nursing, and using her positivity and her story of growing up with Adams-Oliver Syndrome, a rare congenital disorder, to inspire the people around her.
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, AOS is “an extremely rare inherited disorder characterized by defects of the scalp and abnormalities of the fingers, toes, arms and/or legs.”
However, because Hodges was adopted at birth, she doesn’t know if anyone in her family was diagnosed with the disorder as well, or whether they just carry the gene.
“I was born without toes,” Hodges said.
Although she was born without toes, Hodges has a mild form of the syndrome, as other people with AOS are born missing parts of their arms or other limbs.
“There was a part on my head where the hair didn’t grow for like a year,” Hodges said.
Along with nursing classes, Hodges is also a lifeguard at the HPER Center, has been involved in various intramurals and was a part of the Chi Omega sorority before finding her “home church” at New Life Church in Conway.
At New Life she spends a lot of time volunteering whenever the chance arises.
“Helping people is definitely such a huge chunk of who I am,” Hodges said.
Volunteering specifically has a special place in her heart. She said that money aside, it’s enough just knowing she was able to help.
“I have the mentality that it’s better to give than to receive,” she said.
Though her positivity is inspiring, challenges still arise.
“I still get looks from the people around me because my feet are so small, but it doesn’t bother me a bit,” Hodges said.
She wants to work in pediatrics, and possibly with amputees as well, where she feels she will be able to relate to her patients. Her story is something she feels like she can use to encourage them and say, “If I can do it, you can do it.”
“Don’t worry about what people say. That’s just something else you can draw strength from,” Hodges said.
Her goal is to be able to build people like herself up by reminding them that their differences are what make them unique.
Another sector of the medical field she has an interest in is working with pregnant women, specifically those contemplating the birth and the future of the child. Being avidly pro-adoption, she wants to help convince troubled pregnant women that they can give their child the chance at a good life with the option of adoption.
“If I had to go back and choose the situation I could have had or the one I have now, I would pick the one I have now over and over again,” Hodges said.
Given the choice, she’d like to take her practice out of Arkansas, but also said she’s going wherever God calls her.
Her humility leaves her wanting to take none of the credit for herself in the end.
“If I had to pick one word for someone to remember me by, I want them to say, ‘She was always godly.’”