Kendra Gottsleben



Kendra Gottsleben has defined her life by a positive outlook and success in overcoming obstacles, and refuses to be defined by MPS VI.  Gottsleben is the Marketing Communications Specialist at the Center for Disabilities within the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota.  Her career blends the two worlds in which she grew up: medicine and education.  Gottsleben’s ambition is to be a helpful resource to provide support for families and children who have severe or life-threatening illnesses or disabilities.  One life accomplishment she’s most proud of is being a participant in phase II for MPS VI clinical research enzyme trial in Oakland, California in 2002. She is a South Dakota native and is a 2010 Augustana University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology.


Beginning in June 2011, she has been on staff and mentored young adults with disabilities at the annual Youth Leadership Forum in Aberdeen, South Dakota and currently serves on the Sioux Falls Disability Awareness Commission, South Dakota Governors Board of Vocational Rehabilitations, ADA (American Disability Act) 25th Anniversary Celebration committee, Dow Rummel Village board, and chair of ArtAbility Exhibit in Sioux Falls.  She also co-chaired Ms. Wheelchair South Dakota.


She has been nominated for the YWCA Tribute to Women Award – Tomorrow’s Leader, and featured as an inspirational speaker at TEDx Sioux Falls.  In 2013, Gottsleben was featured as one of the “Young Leaders of the Year” by (605) Magazine.  She self-published her first book, Live Laugh Lemonade: A Journey of Choosing to Beat the Odds, in 2012 which she shares events in her life contending with a rare disorder called Mucopolysaccharidosis, Type VI (MPS VI).  In her book, she discusses living, laughing and taking the lemons that life has served up and making them into lemonade.  Gottsleben recently self-published her second book, Kendra’s Lemonade for children. She has shared her story through numerous speaking engagements throughout the United States.