Most of us have spent time in a hospital or a rehab facility. It’s never fun. Exhaustion, heightened
anxiety, and bottom-of-the-barrel depression begin setting in by the fourth day. By the fifth day, we
want to hear our mama’s voice telling us we’re not going die inside those bland, taupe-colored walls.
The tables turned on Lilli Mullins, a 15-year nurse, in May 2023 when she found herself in one of those
torture chamber beds, poked and prodded day and night.
The nature of her illness allowed her no food the first few days. She felt weak by the time the no-food
restriction was lifted and the Presbyterian Flower Mound’s kitchen was told she could eat.
Lili waited for her food to arrive. It’s a fact of life that hospital food never ranks at the top of the culinary
chart, but when your stomach is empty, that same food becomes far more desirable.
“My door opened,” Lili said, “and a ray of sunshine bounced into my room. He held my food on one
hand, lifted upward as if we were in a fine restaurant. He did a perfect little pirouette with a huge smile
and put down the tray as if he were serving a queen. Suddenly, I was smiling at this remarkable young
The “remarkable young man” is 23-year-old Kendrek Claymore. He’s from Austin, where his parents still
live, and he has a passion for reading.
“My grandmother read to me when I was a kid,” he revealed. “When I was a little older, I had a mentor
who gave me one book for every book I read. That went on for a very long time, and each book opened
something new and different for me.”
Kendrek did exceptionally well throughout school and received a scholarship to Great Plains Technical
School in Lawton, Oklahoma. He decided to go through one of the nursing programs offered there,
graduating as a Certified Nursing Aide (CNA).
His newly acquired certificate landed him his job at Presbyterian.
“I love it,” Kendrek said. “So many patients are depressed and feeling hopeless. I take it as part of my job
to cheer them up. Sometimes I do it by the way I serve their meals. I also listen to them when they want
to talk about themselves or their family, and I sometimes meet their relatives. This job has provided me
with fantastic opportunities to make other people’s lives happier at times when they need a boost.” In
other words, he becomes a part of their lives – at least for a little while.
There was something else Kendrek gained while studying for his CNA.
“I discovered I love to write, and I even have a talent for it” he said. “I wrote during school and I finished
my first book during the pandemic. It’s a young adult fantasy called Kayden Claymore and the Chaos
Ring. It was done through Fulton Books and sold on Amazon. I had sales, but nothing fantastic.
“I’m working on my third book, which is mythological and directed toward the same young adult
audience. I think it’ll do much better than my first two because I was lucky enough to get a literary agent
to handle it. I’m hoping that will make a huge difference.”
When Kendrek says he’s “hoping,” it means he’s hoping in a big way.
“I’ve decided being an author is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he said. “I want the books I
write to inspire young people the way all those books I read inspired me.”
In the meantime, he plans to continue working his 40 to 50 hours at Presbyterian. He’s also become
partners with the brother of one of his roommates in a jet ski rental on Lewisville Lake
(retrojetskirentaltx.com). And he gives as much time and support to his grandmother as possible.
“I’m optimistic about the future,” he said. “I like to look forward to things because positive anticipation
is very important to me. In the meantime, while I’m anticipating and waiting for my future, I’ll continue
doing whatever I can to make the patients I serve smile.”