I’ve made it pretty clear that I started The Kortney Rose Foundation to raise money in Kortney’s memory to help other kids with brain tumors by funding lifesaving research. Hopefully in time our donations will lead to new treatments that might have fewer side effects than what they are currently using for these kids. While this is the main reason, as I’ve traveled through this journey of losing Kortney, and starting a foundation in her name, I have learned so much more about the other reasons I do what I do.
Today I brought in pizzas for the winning class at the Betty McElmon Elementary School in West Long Branch, NJ. This third grade class had raised the most money during the month of March for the Kortney’s Coins for the Cure Fundraiser. All of a sudden I realized that Kortney was in third grade which caused me to pause, look at the children in front me, and realize how young Kortney was.
I really love little kids and knew they would be excited to tell me how they raised their money for the fundraiser, so I asked. They had the cutest answers. One little girl said, “There is always money under my bed.” Another said, “I went through our closets and the couch.” After they enjoyed their pizza someone asked, “Are you Kortney’s mother?” When I said yes, there was a whole new energy in the room. A couple of students said, “I’m sorry.” I was absolutely shocked that a 9 year old child would have the wherewithal to know to say they were sorry to me. I had another little girl come up to me say, “You are wonderful and the next time you pray to Kortney tell her she was great too.” This really touched me and the tears were welling up in the corners of my eyes. I quickly said, “Yes, I was Kortney’s mother so you know when I say thank you for raising money to help other kids, I really mean it.” One little boy then yelled out, “To get brain tumors off kids’ minds.” Again, I paused surprised that a young child would even know that slogan. Wow! Many deep breaths later, I left the school. As often happens, I can keep my composure in a situation but as soon as I leave it, I will cry. It makes me miss Kortney at these times and reminds me why I have to do what I do and then I look at what we’re accomplishing! We are inspiring young children to help others and teaching them to make a difference in the world. After she introduced me to the class, the teacher said the most powerful message. She said, “What are we learning from this? That when you do good things for others, good comes back to you.” I am trying to do good for other kids with brain tumors, but the lessons I’ve learned and the kindness I’ve seen expressed along the way, make it all the more worthwhile. To know that something I did has had a hand in inspiring a young child is truly an amazing feeling. I do so much on a daily basis for the foundation and can sometimes get lost in the minutia, but something like today’s encounter with these sweet children reminds me why I do what I do.