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Joe Kettner – President

joeServing since 2011

My story of incorporating a charitable foundation is short; however the reason I arrived here is not. Our eldest son Carter Kettner was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor in February 2009. He was five years old. Doctors gave him less than 12 months to live. We were devastated. We picked up our family and moved to a research hospital to fight for our son. The journey we would take would change us for the rest of our lives. We were thrown into a new world of medicine, neurosurgeries, family struggles, and job loss. Worst of all, we had to watch our son’s health deteriorate month by month.

My son kept his humor, his love, and his trust in us. We kept him happy, safe, and comfortable. The support we had around us was amazing . My wife and I have many friends and family, and we were overjoyed and humbled every day with the sincerity and generosity of our support network. However during our journey, we met other families who weren’t so lucky; No family in the area, not many friends. No transportation to get to the hospital or work. Not enough money for the mortgage, paying medical bills, or family entertainment. Having a child with a life threatening brain tumor is the biggest financial burden I have ever to witness. We shared our blessings with others; it never seemed enough. Our superhero fought for 15 months. Then quietly he passed away on May 12th, 2010. He was 6 years old.

We think about what we accomplished in 15 months; the memories we made. Carter had so many wishes and dreams, many before the “cookie in his head”. We wanted them all to come true. We went to Disneyworld. Carter loved swimming, so he received a pool in his backyard. He wished for it to rain gumballs at his house, and it did! Our home street name was officially re-named Carter Kettner Drive. He threw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field. His dream jobs were to be an astronaut and a fireman. So, he met an Astronaut at NASA, and talked to another one live on the International Space Station. He is an official Fireman in Bartlett, IL. He met Mary Poppins in NYC. I could go on and on. The point is that through the generosity of others, we were able to make his dreams come true.

We know he is looking down on us now, and we want to honor his legacy in doing what he wanted to do when he grew up – to help others. That is when we came up with cancer kiss my cooley™. We want to be able to give families living with cancer something we had; memories, peace of mind, and HOPE.
To contact Joe, email him at jkettner@ckmc.org