4 years after disease left him partially paralyzed, Davenport teenager finds medical and academic success in Baltimore


The Community Foundation is proud of all Kale Hyder, a 2018 scholarship recipient, has accomplished.

Almost four years after the onset of a crippling disease that left him unable to walk or raise his arms above his head, Davenport native Kale Hyder is finding personal and academic success as he pushes forward in recovery.

Hyder, who attended Assumption High School, recently made the dean's list at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and continues to work hard in therapy. His experience in hospitals and pediatric units also led the college freshman to pursue a career as a doctor who works in spinal cord injury research. 

In June 2015, a rare inflammatory disease called transverse myelitis attacked Hyder's spinal cord, which shut off the signals from his brain. Unable to walk, Hyder required two nerve transfer surgeries at New York-based Hospital for Special Surgeries to regain function in his arms. His nerves were essentially split in half, with half staying in place while the other half were implanted into nerves affected by transverse myelitis.

“With any nerve injury, it takes a long time to see recovery. But I think, especially since I’ve arrived here at Hopkins and I’m doing physical therapy three times a week, which has included a lot of pool therapy and treadmill therapy, I’ve definitely seen an increase in my legs," Hyder said.

He's also undergoing occupational therapy for his hands to strengthen them and find new ways to complete tasks.

Now, Hyder, 19, is strong enough to live independently in Baltimore, 13 hours away.

"Therapy and the surgeries have definitely helped them get to this point where I’m able to take care of myself and live independently," he said.

Among other factors, Hyder credits his athletic background for helping him stay strong and committed to therapy. But his recent career choice has enhanced that motivation too.