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Down’s Syndrome sibling inspires sister to become nurse

Kylee Clark

Since she was very young, Kylee Clark has been inspired to take on a role of helping others. When she was just one, her middle sister, Lexee, was born with Down’s Syndrome. Big sister Kylee immediately took on the protector role, helping to promote Lexee and her abilities and giving her as many opportunities as possible.

After a job shadowing experience, Kylee chose nursing and selected Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville because of its strong degree program and its proximity to her hometown, Arcola, Illinois.

Her studies are rigorous, with days filled with clinical rotations, theory-based classes, a nursing research class, her senior year project, and volunteering with Up ’Til Dawn, raising funds for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and as a sexual assault advocate for survivors.

“School can feel overwhelming at times,” admits Kylee. “But it was my OBGYN rotation in 2011 that really put things into focus for me. Witnessing the deliveries – that was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Today, Kylee is on track to graduate with her Bachelor’s in Nursing in May. She’ll take her NCLEX boards in June 2013 then ideally be placed in an OBGYN or pediatrics ward in an area hospital.

After a year of this experience, she hopes to pursue a Master’s degree and is considering becoming a Nurse Practitioner. She also sees volunteering with an organization like March of Dimes in her future so she can put her passion for working with infants into play. “The Christie Foundation scholarship has helped me pursue the best education I can receive,” says Kylee. “It has expanded my horizons and I hope the program continues to offer opportunities for students like me for decades to come.”