TCOM student Lindsey Hudson, SBS graduate and TCOM alum Reid Golden go the extra mile for a man who’s been blind since birth

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

HSC School of Biomedical Science awards with Lindsey Hudson standing between two SBS faculty with her awardLindsey Hudson is a mother of three beginning medical school, Scott Hudson is 72 years old and legally blind, but the two have become forever linked and tethered, in more ways than one could possibly imagine. Lindsey, a 2024 graduate of the School of Biomedical Sciences Medical Science program at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, is beginning an unthinkable path to becoming an osteopathic physician at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine this month.

Photo caption: Lindsey Hudson standing between two HSC School of Biomedical Science faculty with her Outstanding Student award

As orientation begins for more than 230 students at TCOM, Lindsey’s unlikely road to Fort Worth included an assist from Dr. Reid Golden, a 2016 TCOM graduate, who himself was inspired to help Scott a decade earlier. Lindsey and Golden are both avid runners, and despite the disability of being legally blind, so is Scott.

This is the remarkable story of how a TCOM graduate helped drive Lindsey Hudson from East Texas to HSC and TCOM, while also helping an old friend stay active while inspiring others.

An unlikely medical student

Lindsey enters medical school as what popular jargon would call a “non-traditional” student. A mother of three children, she grew up in what she described as a “pretty rough childhood.” Despite those obstacles, Lindsey attended East Texas Baptist University, and during her sophomore year began working as an emergency room scribe at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview.

In 2013, Lindsey graduated with a degree in criminal justice, but little did she know that her job as a scribe was the first step toward medical school.

“I started as a scribe, was promoted to chief scribe, and then occasionally worked as a temporary project leader,” Lindsey said. “It opened other doors to scribe in other specialties, but I never thought of doing medicine. I grew up in circumstances where I wasn’t going to be able to do much, people like me don’t do that. When I got the scribe position, I had no idea this is what people wanting to do medical school do.”

Lindsey also knew that she could no longer continue in her role as a scribe as it’s not really a career path and the question arose “What do I need to do moving forward.”

Being in the environment, it was only natural that Lindsey started to develop friendships and even mentors who were physicians. As she was around a vast array of expertise and resources about medicine, her knowledge of the field grew as well, and eventually physicians themselves started asking the question.

“Why are you not pursuing medicine as a career,” Lindsey said. “I was doing more than just scribing and working as a project leader as they were asking me about different cases, but everyone kept asking me that question.”

She was listening, but it wasn’t until she mentioned it to one of her mentors, Dr. Greg Payne, the medical director of the emergency department at Good Shepherd Medical Center that it became a real possibility.

Payne does not give false praise or provide praise indiscriminately, so when Lindsey told him she was thinking about a career in medicine and he agreed it was a good idea, she began to really consider it.

There was a problem though, Lindsey’s undergraduate GPA was low and she would need to take the pre-requisites for medical school while also trying to help boost her GPA.

At this point, she was also juggling three kids and a full-time job and when she told Payne that for her to pursue medicine she would have to make an A on every pre-requisite, he said “Then you’ll do it.”

“That made me really start thinking that I might have the capability to do it,” Lindsey said. “That’s when I started to look at what this would look like and how it would impact my family.

She decided to pursue medicine, but not wanting to miss time with her kids, Lindsey spread the classes out over five years so her youngest would be in kindergarten when she applied to medical school

While still scribing in the ER during that time, it was there she met a recent graduate from resident, Dr. Salman Rahim, a 2017 TCOM alum, who knew about her academic concerns but urged her to think about the Master of Science in Medical Science Program at HSC. It was a difficult decision, she would have to uproot her family and move to Fort Worth, but they did it.

Lindsey and her family arrived in Fort Worth to begin the School of Biomedical Sciences Med Sci program in June 2022

A decade earlier

Reid Golden & Scott Hudson running together with Reid as Scott's guide. The two men are tethered together to make guiding easier.It was 2014 and Reid Golden was a second-year student at TCOM and an avid runner. The then 28-year-old former Peace Corps volunteer had several marathons and ultra-marathons under his belt. At a race in Houston, he noticed several guides helping visually impaired runners navigate the course.

Inspired, Golden contacted Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth and offered his services. The nonprofit organization connected Golden with Scott Hudson and the two began what has been a life-long friendship ever since. The two ran one half-marathon and were very close while Golden was finishing up his time at TCOM.

Photo Caption: Reid Golden & Scott Hudson running together with Reid as Scott's guide. The two men are tethered together to make guiding easier.

“Scott is like family to me,” Golden said. “I am always looking to make time to come back into town for a run with him.”

After graduating from TCOM in 2016 and completing his residency, Golden began practicing emergency medicine in Longview at Good Shepherd Medical Center, and it wasn’t long until he crossed paths with one of the ER scribes, Lindsey Hudson.

“When I first met Lindsey, she was well on her way,” Golden said. “It was always clear that she was going to keep advancing in the medical field and I later learned she was planning to pursue medicine.”

The two became friends at the ER, but when Golden found out that Lindsey was training for a half marathon, that brought them together as they both shared a passion for running. The pair ran a half-marathon together before Lindsey moved to Fort Worth to begin the Med Sci program.

It was in October of 2022, while Lindsey was a few months into her studies at HSC when Golden reached out to her.

“He randomly messaged me one weekend and said, ‘I want you to meet my friend, he’s kind of like a father figure to me,’” Lindsey said.

That father figure was Scott Hudson.

Blind since birth

Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare genetic eye disease that causes vision loss by slowly breaking down the retina’s light-sensitive cells over time. People are born with the disease, which has no cure. As a child, Scott Hudson was born with RP, but had good reading vision and was able to do some sports like track and field as a youth.

However, as the disease progressed through junior high and into high school, his vision deteriorated. It wasn’t long until Scott had to use large print books and speech software for his computer, but by his 50s, his vision was reduced to simply differentiating between light and dark, he was legally blind.

His passion for running never dimmed.

“I have always loved running and have done it since I was in junior high,” Scott said. “I ran sprints through high school with some success, and in college, I started running a little farther. When I was 27 I met two women that worked with the Lighthouse for the Blind and started running with them. Since then I have been hooked.”

His friendship with Golden never waned despite the distance, the two stayed close, and then came that weekend in October when Reid got Lindsey and Scott together for the first time, hoping she would pick up where he left off.

A father figure again

Lindsey and Scott together on the Trinity trail before a guided run.Golden was upfront with Lindsey in October of 2022 when he messaged her out of nowhere. He was coming to Fort Worth for a run, but he wanted her to meet his friend, who’s like a father figure to him.“I was a little confused at first, but I was willing to go with it,” Lindsey said. “When we started, he (Golden) was guiding Scott on the run. We got to our halfway point on the run, and Golden said to me ‘Hey do you want to guide him?’ I was terrified at first, but he just said to give Scott a little heads up and he will be fine.”

The rest of the run went fine, but Golden had one more message for Lindsey before he left.

Photo Caption: Lindsey and Scott together on the Trinity trail before a guided run. Golden was upfront with Lindsey in October of 2022 when he messaged her out of nowhere. He was coming to Fort Worth for a run, but he wanted her to meet his friend, who’s like a father figure to him.

“Thank you for letting me introduce you to a stranger, I hope you might be able to pick up where I left off if you can find the time,” Golden said.

It didn’t take pity or convincing, Lindsey and Scott quickly began running regularly together on the weekends. So how exactly did it work?

The pair are tethered together with a rope and Lindsey acts as the eyes for both of them. The two work in rhythm as they are running, with Lindsey at times having to keep up with Scott’s pace while also keeping him safe. Nobody was happier to see their friendship bloom than Golden.

“I was very happy to see them hit it off so well,” Golden said. “Scott is an intrinsically motivated person, yet he is necessarily dependent on others being available to take him out on the types of runs that he needs to do to compete in long-distance races like half marathons.”

It was during these 18 months that Lindsey was navigating her way through the Med Sci program, having to be perfect, and the medical school application process and Scott was there to help.

“Scott is somebody that’s going to make you talk, and these runs became little counseling sessions for me,” Lindsey said. “He loves to learn and so I would talk to him about what I was doing, anatomy and physiology, getting ready for tests, it was such an easy kind of friendship and he became the father figure I don’t have, it was really good.”

“The process of getting into medical school is so stressful, I think I just had to keep reminding her she had the ability as shown by her grades, the respect she had gotten from her professors, and the support she had received from doctors she had worked with,” Scott said.

Despite the pressure of needing to be “perfect,” Lindsey applied to TCOM at the end of July 2023 just to see what would happen.

She admits that it felt like it was going to be a “throw-away” cycle for her because despite retaking the MCAT, her score was the exact same as her first try. It wasn’t.

Lindsey was invited for an interview and in December, the email arrived, and she was accepted into TCOM.

“It was overwhelming, shock and disbelief,” Lindsey said. “I looked at the email 10 more times to make sure it was real.”

The email was real, and Lindsey finished up her two-year run in the Med Sci program by graduating in May of 2024 before moving on to TCOM, and nobody was happier about it than Scott.

“I did everything including dancing, shouting and in general made a fool of myself,” said Scott when he learned she had gotten into TCOM. “I told everyone I know about it. I think so highly of her and I have tried very hard to be a cheerleader, supporter, counselor and a positive role model. I always tried to be positive when talking to her and not let her doubt herself.  I have always thought of her as the daughter I could never have had since my eye disease is hereditary.”

Golden described it as almost a full-circle moment with Lindsey getting into TCOM, but also helping out with Scott.

“It couldn’t have been drawn up any better,” Golden said.

Scott’s support system has been extensive starting with his wife of 41 years Cherry. It has also included the Lighthouse for the Blind, the State Commission for the Blind, and many members of the Fort Worth community, including fellow guide runners Rob Kurz, Kari Seher, Jake Richter, Amaris Warner, Ariel Slick, Hannah Rey and Joshua Brown.

Lindsey and Scott aren’t related in any way, but they are forever linked on and off the trails.


From HSC Newsroom - Our People by Steven Bartolotta