Interview with KelliAnn Mead
KelliAnn Mead was recognized by the 5-hour Energy Amazing People Project
KelliAnn Mead and her husband were devastated when told their newborn child would never lead a normal life. Now they know that “normal” would not have been good enough for their super kid, Carter.
Carter was born missing bones throughout his body resulting in anomalies on all four limbs. Most children with his level of birth defects only live a couple of months. He is now 7 and friends will tell you, nothing slows him down. His family received early assistance from Easter Seals NH and soon his mom was volunteering regularly for them. One of their case workers nominated her to the 5-hour Energy Amazing People Project which recognizes people who, in spite of their own challeges, give time and effort to help others. Soon Carter’s family was featured in a video that has been watched more than one and a half million times on YouTube. They also received a $50,000 check from 5-Hour Energy and a VIP day at a NASCAR race.
Apart from nominating you for the 5-hour Energy award, how has Easter Seals helped your family?
Easter Seals helped us pick up the pieces when we felt broken and rebuild a foundation for our family. They not only gave Carter top-of-the-line therapy to help him succeed, they gave us moral support and coping skills. When our other son, Chase, became sick they stepped in … helping us realize we could use our newly learned coping skills on any family crisis.
Your award was for giving back in spite of your own struggles. Have you always done that?
No, before Carter’s birth I never had this kind of conviction. After having to rebuild my family I realized that I needed to make sure other families would be able to benefit from these services.
What was the best part of your NASCAR experience?
The surprise of our family and friends being a part of our day. We knew some family and friends would be there but they surprised us with a couple of people that we had no idea were attending. The NASCAR day was perfect and we felt like a normal family for once.
Has anything changed as a result of Carter’s Internet fame?
Fame comes naturally to this kid and he has always been a ham for the camera! One day we were walking through the mall and a woman and man said, “Hey Carter, how are you, buddy?” As they walked past, my husband and I looked at each other confused because we had no idea who they were.
So what does he want to do with his life?
I think his true calling is public speaking and I hope that our involvement with Easter Seals will help him pursue this. Just last week I was told that he spoke to three first grade classes about his differences and answered their questions. My 7-year-old stood in front of almost 60 kids and proudly displayed his birth defects for all to see, then he answered questions about why he was different, all without his mommy holding his hand. I think Carter’s path is pretty clear! He is going to make a difference in this world.
He sounds like a pretty well-adjusted kid.
He’s special enough to have a T-shirt that says “Dude, Where’s My Leg?”