Kendel Malik Hodges was born in San Diego, California and moved to Temecula, California in 2001 just 6 months after his final treatment of chemotherapy for Rhabdomyosarcoma. Kendel, or “Boogie” as his parents Mikel and Chrisanya call him, was diagnosed with cancer at 20 months old and despite the early health challenge in his life, he has always shown special talent in his academic and athletic ability. All throughout elementary school Kendel earned exemplary grades and made honor roll nine consecutive trimesters from grades 3 to 5. Currently, Kendel attends a charter school in North County San Diego. He has always been an outstanding student who is excited about learning and committed to his studies and carries a cumulative GPA of 3.8.
At the age of 6, he was recruited to join a travel basketball team with Big City Sports where he was the youngest of his teammates of boys aged 10 and under. There were times where he was matched up with boys as old as 12. His signature shot was from behind the arc because of his slight size and apparent age difference; most teams did not take him seriously. However, many games were won because of Kendel’s 3-point shots. In fact, in one game he made over 5 3-point shots to take his team to victory. One could classify Kendel as a “student” of the game as he was excited about basketball and helped his team to win several regional and national championships. Though Kendel is still an avid basketball fan, in 2008 just one day after his ninth birthday, he was diagnosed with systolic cardiomyopathy, a degenerative heart disease. At this time, doctors advised his family to halt his participation in rigorous physical activities including basketball.
Kendel was disheartened by this diagnosis and he and his parents spent the next two months wondering how they would proceed. Kendel’s parents asked him if he would be interested in trying golf as it was doctor approved and they lived such a short distance to the course. His parents believe that timing is everything and especially in this case, as Red Hawk Golf Course had just began to build its junior golf program and PGA Pro Steve Adamiak saw something special in Kendel after 3 weeks of instruction. From that point, Kendel began taking lessons with Adamiak, practices daily (weather and school permitting) and has since joined several local junior tours including The First Tee of Riverside/Valley Junior Golf Association, San Diego Junior Golf Association and Futures Champion Junior Golf where he has won several tournaments and had several top 10 finishes in a field of many of the top ranked junior golfers.
One of his best finishes came in the summer of 2010 where two months after joining the Western States Golf Association (WSGA) junior program where he proudly earned the 11-12 year old boys regional championship. Kendel is a member of The Honors Golf Club, a member club of WSGA, and is under the tutelage of JW Lewis. As with most life stories, Kendel’s is always evolving and he and his family believe the best part of his story has yet to be lived.