After meeting the Kettners in 2005, I became a close friend (and even short-term roommate) to the Kettner family. Carter was only 2.5 years old when I briefly joined their family and immediately he stole my heart (and my dog).
After being diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, Anaplastic Astrocytoma in February of 2009, I made it my goal to ensure that Carter never spent one minute more being sad than the physical aspects of his diagnosis created. Among the efforts to make Carter’s dreams come true was having it actually rain gumballs with the help of “Carter’s Crew”! While our work managed to provide the smiles I had hoped for, the larger effect of my relationship with Carter was actually to my benefit.
Carter has taught me the meaning of HOPE, of the benefit of cracking jokes in the middle of the most difficult situations and how courage is an amazing gift you can give to others. With his focus always on those around him, rather than on himself, I have often wondered how such a young boy could have such a wise soul.
I try to keep what I have learned from Carter as a reminder of the effect one child can have – even on strangers. It is with great honor that I sit on the Board of Directors as the Vice President and events planner for cancer kiss my cooley®. I am dedicated to the foundation and our mission to create memory making experiences for children battling brain cancer as a way of honoring the sweet angel who taught me so much. Our Kiss of HOPE® Program offers financial assistance and custom memory making experiences for these children and their families. As of 2016, we have offered over 60 families with a Kiss of HOPE and we are proud of what we have built and to keep Carter’s legacy alive.
To contact Michelle, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org