Memory Monday: Kortney Rose


Kortney was a fearless daredevil. She went on the largest waterslide, at the time in New Jersey, at Great Adventure’s water park. There was no way I was going with her so her dad, Rich, went with her. Her sister, Kasey and her friends stood at the bottom fearful and watched 7-year-old Kortney climb the gigantic ladder. We know which parent she took after. After she came down with the biggest smile on her face, she immediately wanted to do it again. My husband said once was enough for him

Kortney loved water slides and roller coasters of all kinds. We used to call her “The Bomber” because she would “bomb” down our driveway hill on this little bike we had. She would crash into the tall grasses across the street that would stop her, cheer, and go back up again. I made her wear a helmet because she loved to go as fast as possible. She also loved sledding – The larger the hill the better. She had such a rambunctious spirit about her. In all honesty we often joke with close friends and family about what she may have put us through as a teenager or older because of her fearlessness and outgoing nature.

We sure were grateful for that fearlessness because that’s how she faced challenges in her life. It wasn’t only the brain tumor that ended her life, but three years prior to her diagnosis, we were in a very serious car accident where she almost died from a skull fracture and traumatic brain injury. She went through physical, speech and occupational therapy for seven months and regained everything she had lost. That’s when we started calling her a “tough cookie.” During her treatment with her brain tumor, she started saying, “I’m one tough cookie.” She certainly was! Her joyful spirit, beautiful smile and infectious laugh are greatly missed.

Kristen Gillette is Kortney’s mom and Founder/Executive Director of The Kortney Rose Foundation. You can learn more about Kortney’s story and their fight against pediatric brain cancer at

Gift from a Child
Is a Swifty Foundation Program

Swifty is a recipient of the GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency

Connect With Us