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Olympic achievement: Children’s Hospital employee KeKe Hinds brings home the gold

"I am very competitive when it comes to sports. It’s such fun and I get to meet so many great people.”

by December 28, 2018

KeKe Hinds shows off the gold medals she won at the Special Olympics national games in Seattle. Photo by Joe Howell

KeKe Hinds, who works in the Pediatric Acute Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, is a multi-faceted athlete — swimming, basketball, snow skiing, bowling, flag football, track, bocce ball, ice skating, and track and field.

“The only thing that I do not do is golf,” laughs Hinds. “I just can’t be quiet enough for that. I’m sorry, but nope.”

As a member of the Tennessee chapter of Special Olympics, Hinds was able to bring home the gold in track and field at the 2018 national games in Seattle.

Hinds said being a part of Special Olympics has taught her to never give up. It’s one of many attributes her fellow co-workers say sets Hinds apart from others.

She placed first in three events: 100-meter walk, softball throw and the 50-meter run. She also came in fourth in the standing long jump.

“I was very surprised by my medals, especially since it was my first time. But I am very competitive when it comes to sports. It’s such fun and I get to meet so many great people,” she said.

“I’ve been a member of Special Olympics since 2006 and serve as part of the Young Professionals Board too,” said Hinds, who attends a twice weekly program through the Metro Parks Disability Program where participants train for a variety of sporting events.

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The Young Professionals Board includes individuals younger than 40 years old who use their collective professional experiences to raise awareness and visibility of Special Olympics of Tennessee.

Hinds said being a part of Special Olympics has taught her to never give up. It’s one of many attributes her fellow co-workers say sets Hinds apart from others.

“She’s such a hard worker and comes to work every day motivated and ready to work,” said LeighAnn Chadwell, MSN, RN, NE-BC, the manager of Perioperative and Procedural Services and Holding/PACU/Radiology Recovery/PATCH at Children’s Hospital.

“KeKe is friendly, outgoing and always has a smile on her face. She beams positivity. She really helps the staff and our patients. She does all the things that help everyone have a better day and especially our patients to ensure that they are comfortable and have a positive experience. She’s a great team member.”

Athletes must medal in a state level competition to be eligible for the following year’s games. Hinds hopes to continue her medal streak and secure a place in future competitions.

Chadwell, Hinds’ supervisor, says that her work ethic and dedication are most likely what propelled her to the national level.

“It’s a really neat experience to watch her compete,” Chadwell said. “She’s busy all day long, quietly going about her day. But it’s a different version when she is out there competing.”

KeKe Hinds, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, LeighAnn Chadwell, Special Olympics, Running, medal