When we can, we like to introduce participants to others like themselves who participate in NDB research. If you would like to share a bit about yourself please contact the NDB.

Cheryl Kuykendall is a long-time NDB participant from Amite, LA. Her story with RA starts at age 17 , but other medical problems, namely polio dominated her life up to that point. Polio kept her paralyzed from the neck down and in an iron lung so she could breathe. In fact, it wasn't until she was I7 that she learned to walk.

Cheryl found that she was naturally interested in science, which she attributes to a long line of academics on her grandmother's side of the family. Her grandmother graduated from Stanford University in mathematics at a time when women did not go to college. Also remarkably, her great grandmother was a professor of physics and her great grandfather a professor of chemistry both emigrated from Germany.

Cheryl, herself became a chemist working first for industry and later for the Environmental Protection Agency as an educator teaching industry how to safely use and dispose of chemicals. To work in that men's world, she first had to go through school as the only woman in her science classes and then prove herself on the job. As she put it, back then in the field, "You'd have to be fifty times better (than a man) to be thought of as half as good."

All her years of physical struggle have left Cheryl with few RA treatments that help. She's limited in what she can take by chemical allergies. Additionally, she is unable now to work. Although she would rather be employed and using her mind, Cheryl spends her time working around the yard and going to church. A deeply religious person, she credits faith and prayer with helping her endure. That, and a get tough attitude with he herself: "Stop sitting on your can. Do what you can!"