Carter’s Story

“My wish is for everyone’s dreams to come true.”
– Carter Kettner

cancer kiss my cooley® is a 501c(3) charitable foundation that was created in memory of a very special boy, Carter Kettner. Carter was the 6 year old son of Joe and Cinnamon Kettner. At age 5, he was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brainstem glioma on February 17th, 2009. He loved singing, watching movies, and riding his John Deere tractor. His thoughtfulness and appreciation towards others was unfounded. He was a perfect gentleman, and met every girl with a kiss on the lips. His illness didn’t make him the boy he was; cancer was just something that happened to him. He continued to live every day, trusting his mommy and daddy. He loved his crazy little brother Bowen, and he laughed though his antics, calling him a beast and a freak. He loved his hospitals, doctors and nurses, and did everything that was ever asked of him. Carter was perfection in a son. He was indeed, the meaning of HOPE.

The Kettners would embark on a journey for the next 15 months that would change them forever. His fight is a novel in itself. The support the Kettner family received along the way was nothing short of amazing; they were humbled every step of their journey. They had a peace of mind in knowing life’s daily happenings outside of cancer were taken care of. It was through acts of kindness and support that helped them provide happy moments and treasured memories with their son, whose future seemed uncertain with every passing week. Sadly, his tumor progressed, and weeks later he passed away, quietly in his sleep on May 12th, 2010.

Living through this terrible journey, Joe and Cinnamon decided that other families living with cancer should share in similar blessings. So, in December 2010, Carter’s parents came together with an extraordinary group of individuals who were always dubbed “Carter’s Crew”. They incorporated together to form cancer kiss my cooley. CKMC® was named after a phrase that Carter used to say when receiving treatment. We called his backside his “cooley”, which is Italian slang for “rear end”. He would sing “cancer kiss my cooley!” pointing to his backside. Since Carter’s passing and this new idea, the phrase has taken on new meaning. We want to show families that they can also tell cancer to “kiss it”! Live your lives with cancer; fight, yes – but live; make memories, and keep HOPE. So indeed, the Kettner journey did not end; it will continue on.