Moms are an amazing bunch, and today we feature three Triad women who are continuing to raise the bar. From putting community first and helping our neighbors in need, to tirelessly caring for our family no matter what it takes, to moving half way around the world only to become of our area’s leading medical practitioners.
I’m thrilled to introduce you to Katie Bryant, Karen Kelly, and Dr. Victoria Nnadi.
Katie is the Minister with Children and Outreach at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem. She and her husband, Kris, have two children: Micah (9) and Claire (5). In her position at the church, Katie does everything from leading “Godly Play” for children, organizing outreach opportunities, and overseeing a community garden to teach sustainability and care for creation.
Last fall, Katie connected St.Timothy’s with Anthony’s Plot in order to learn more about face-to-face ministry in our community. At the time, Anthony’s Plot was chosen to oversee and run the Winston-Salem Overflow Homeless Shelters. The Overflow Shelters open in Winston-Salem each winter to house the homeless people who can’t find room in any of our city’s permanent shelters. With the unusually cold winter last year, the three Overflow Shelter sites became overcrowded, so St.Timothy’s (and First Presbyterian) stepped in and opened shelters from Valentine’s Day to the end of March each night offering a hot meal and shelter for 18-20 women and couples each night. Katie coordinated the many volunteers it took to run the shelter, and stayed overnight at the shelter one night every week – staying awake so that others may sleep.
This coming winter St. Timothy’s will be hosting an Overflow Shelter for the entire season (Dec.1-March 31) and Katie says there are many ways for all ages to help and get involved. If interested, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, this summer Anthony’s Plot will be collecting school supplies and money to buy new shoes for the children in the Winston-Salem’s Sunnyside neighborhood. To find out how you can help Anthony’s Plot with this initiative – as well as other volunteer opportunities with our homeless neighbors in Winston-Salem, email email@example.com.
“Jack may not be able to ever fly a plane, but he could certainly run an airline some day,” says Karen of her four-year-old son who, at 18 months of age, was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a hereditary eye disease that gradually degenerates the retina. Her husband, Dan, lost all vision from the same disease at age 13. Karen and Dan, who live in Greensboro, also have a six-year-old daughter, Kyla.
Needless to say, Karen’s life is not like a typical wife or mother – but she works hard every day to sure life is as typical as possible for her family. When asked what she has to do differently, she replied, “Little things like lay out my husband’s clothes so he doesn’t walk out the door in mismatched socks. I have to run most of the appliances in the house since almost all of them have flat panel displays that are inaccessible to a person with no vision. When we are watching TV, I have to remember to describe the visuals so my son or husband can grasp the nuances behind the dialogue. I’m always the one who runs the errands. And, for Moms who might like a glass of wine now and then, I’m always the designated driver.”
But her greatest challenges are not knowing what the future holds for her son, and not placing limits on him either. “Jack wants to be a race car driver when he grows up. I know he won’t race cars, but why would I dampen that four year old passion and enthusiasm. He’ll find limits on his own and I’ll be behind him every step of the way.”
Karen is an active volunteer with Foundation Fighting Blindness, and is co-chair of this year’s TriadVisionWalk. She encourages all TMoM readers – walkers and runners alike – to consider walking with Jack’s Pack. More information about the walk can be found at www.fightblindness.org/goto/jackspack.
Dr. Victoria Nnadi, MD
Originally from Nigeria, West Africa, Dr. Nnadi is a managing physician who is board certified in Internal Medicine – Primary Care with Cornerstone Internal Medicine in Kernersville, and is fluent in three languages: English, French and Spanish. She and her husband, Dr. Michael Nnadi, have three children: Serena (19), Victor (16), and Micah (13).
As an Internist, Dr. Nnadi focuses on preventive health care but also treats chronic medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and obesity (exploring weight loss options). When asked what the most important thing women should talk to their doctors about, Dr. Nnadi replied, “Preventive health especially as it relates to risk modification. For example, lowering cholesterol levels is important since heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. I also always reinforce the importance of diet and exercise because prevention is key to healthier living.”
Managing and preventing diabetes is another big focus for Dr. Nnadi. “I try to make sure that screening is done relatively early so that if one is diagnosed with pre-diabetes (fasting blood sugar of 100-126), immediate steps are taken to assist the patient in modifying this risk by changing their diet and exercising regularly. This will hopefully lead to a decrease in their risk of developing full-blown diabetes.”
Dr. Nnadi is currently taking new patients, and she adds that her main goal and passion is to improve the quality of life and health of every one she sees. “I truly enjoy when patients get great health benefits by making small, positive, incremental changes in their health.”