Brady Keister took a traumatic period in her life and turned it into inspiration for a future career and the title of Warren County's Health Care Hero.
Keister, a student at Eisenhower Middle/High School, was recently named Warren County's Health Care Hero through the Northwest Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board. In addition, she won the region nomination and will face other regional winners when the state winner is crowned in Harrisburg next Tuesday, Nov. 9.
Nominated by guidance counselor Patti Phelps, Keister is described as a busy and helpful.
Brady Keister volunteering at Warren General Hospital
"She does hundreds of hours of volunteering, Phelps said. "She likes to help people."
Volunteering at Warren General Hospital for the past three years, Keister has logged more than 200 volunteer hours.
"I volunteer there every week," Keister said. "During the school year, I work at the in-patient desk directing people where to go, sometimes delivering flowers and answering the phone. During the summer, I work at the gift shop."
In her essay, which was attached to her nomination, Keister wrote, "It's a really a big impact to know that the smile you flashed to someone that's been in a bed for who knows how long could have made their day that much better."
Asked why she gives so much time, Keister responded, "I think it's very important for students to give back to their community. There's always a need for extra help."
Her desire to give back and eventually enter the health care field dates back to a time in her life when she was sick.
When Keister was 11 years old, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer.
"Obviously, it was scary for me," she admitted.
While being treated at Pittsburgh Children's Hospital, Keister was helped in her journey to recovery by a child life specialist named Shalise.
"She could go into procedures my parents couldn't because she worked for the hospital," Keister explained. "It's just a comfort to know that someone is there."
From that point, she knew she wanted to work in the health care field and plans to become a child life specialist in the future.
In her essay, Keister wrote, "I know what it feels like to be a completely clueless kid going through a scary time, but I also know what it was like to have someone there to answer all of my questions and make it so I can understand. I plan to attend college for psychology and then become a certified Child Life Specialist. There is nothing that I want more in my life than to give back what was given to me, to help sick kids."