More Than Just Man’s Best Friend


Lizzy Saba

Ms. Hendrick, Jac, and fellow Chiefs!

Lizzy Saba, Staff Writer/Photographer

Ms. Hendrick is the quintessence of the perfect role model. She teaches that when you fall down, you get back up again. Former soccer player, runner, and physical education coach, Ms. Hendrick was always on the go.

“I ran everywhere, that was my passion,” said Hendrick.

Until one day it was all taken away.

“One early morning on I-95 someone cut me off,” said Hendrick. “I was a passenger in a car and we ran off the road, completely lost control.”

One of Hendrick’s close friends was driving her van to drop her off at the airport when the collision occurred.

“My van flipped,” said Hendrick. “I went out of my seat belt and flew out the back window.”

Although her friend was lucky enough to walk away with minor injuries, Hendrick was not so fortunate. She is now what you call 7-area T-Zone paralyzed (seven metal rods in back/spine), which is just mid-way of her torso and down. With having some upper body strength, Hendrick is able to do everything she was before, just a little bit different.

“I guess I  just had a different venture in my life,” said Hendrick. “But my life is just as good now as it was then.”

Hendrick is a huge inspiration to many children, teens, and even adults. She reminds them that even when all goes well in life we have these things called ‘road bumps.’ She spoke to AVID students and LINK Crew members in the Little Theater recently.

While in the hospital, Ms. Hendrick was told she was never going to work again, that she just couldn’t because of her condition. She was so determined that six months later, she was able to go back to work as a physical education teacher.

“I’m struggling with stuff I’ve never had to do before,” said Hendrick. “But I don’t give up. [I] face everyday as best as you can.”

However, one night while transferring to bed, she completely collapsed. Her phone and wheelchair went flying. Living alone, Hendrick had no way of getting help.

“This is when I got the idea that I’d need a service dog,” said Hendrick.

She then went to Genesis – a nonprofit organization where people fundraise money to find, raise, and give service dogs to people with disabilities. That is where she met Jac.

“[Falling] made me lose my confidence in myself a little bit,” said Hendrick. “But I couldn’t imagine what I’d be doing now without Jac.”

Jac, a black labrador, has become an instant part of Hendrick’s life and goes everywhere with her. She even brings him to school.

“He’s brought a lot of love to my school,” said Hendrick. “All the children adore him.”

With the help of Genesis and Jac, Hendrick has been very fortunate to be able to have a life and work in the condition she is in now. Ms. Hendrick is a huge inspiration to many and wishes to continue on in her journey, even if it does feature a few road bumps along the way.