Staff Spotlight - Kelly Hedin
Kelly Hedin is a familiar face in the halls of Manalapan High School, where she is a health and physical education teacher. Recently Ms. Hedin published a children’s book, My Bumpy Bones and Me: A Book About MHE, a story with a deeply personal connection.
Two of Ms. Hedin’s children have a rare genetic bone disease called MHE (Multiple Hereditary Exostoses), which generates tumors on their bones. Throughout the years, Ms. Hedin’s children have had multiple surgeries to try and help their condition.
“It is a long and painful process, and being that the disease is so rare, it was hard to find an outlet to try and find comfort in it. When my son was diagnosed, I had no idea how to explain it to him in a way he would understand,” Ms. Hedin described.
In visiting various website communities related to the disease, she learned that many parents of young kids with MHE were also looking for ways to talk to their children about it. Ms. Hedin decided to write a children's book to try and navigate through the process of explaining MHE, and to make it less of a scary experience.
“Through doing this, I’ve had multiple people from all over the world reach out to me and tell me how they appreciated the fact that they had a resource for their children. My goal is that people become more aware, and maybe one day there will be a cure,” Ms. Hedin said.
As an educator in the Freehold Regional High School District since 2002, Ms. Hedin said her experience in writing this book also aids her work in the classroom.
“There is a huge focus on mental health in the curriculum, and this book was a chance to express my side. Dealing with the lifelong disease of my children and how we are both impacted mentally. My experiences give me a greater understanding of empathy, not only as a teacher but also as a human being,” Ms. Hedin said. Her colleagues at Manalapan High School also supported her throughout the process.
Ms. Hedin's book is available for purchase on Amazon.