VERNON, Conn. (WTNH) — After the cancer death of their young daughter, a Vernon couple raises funds for research and for other parents.
“I said, ‘Kurt, there’s something wrong with Jamie,” remembers Kelly Knotts.
Doctors gave the baby girl an almost incomprehensible diagnosis.
“We found out it was a very rare and aggressive kind of tumor,” says Kurt who, along with his wife and young son, Braedon, took pictures and gave Jamie lots of love.
She passed away from the rare liver tumor when she was five and a half months old.
Through the pain, they felt gratitude for community support and the staff at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
“We just felt how do we keep that love going? How do we keep that?” says Kelly. “I like to run and for families to be active so we decided on a run.”
So, the family started Jamie’s Run in Wethersfield with a uniquely fun spirit and a very personal trophy, hand carved by Jamie’s grandfather.
“We came up with the JK 5K for Jamie Knotts,” explains Kurt, holding a wooden baby block. “That became our logo and the tag line, ‘Building a cure one block at a time.'”
In the past eleven years, nearly $500,000 dollars has been raised for research and family support. Jamie inspired her dad to change his career. Kurt now plans fundraising events for the Connecticut Children’s Foundation.
“She’s part of our conversation, we’ve never shied away from talking about her,” says Kelly of Jamie, noting that her other daughter, Dana, never met her big sister but feels connected to her none-the-less.
The family says her few months on Earth made a lasting impact.
“She’s touched thousands of people and we carry that on. She had her mission and now we carry that on,” says Kelly. “We’ve been changed forever to think of the big picture in life and what matters most.”
Jamie’s Run will take virtually this year between November 1st and 8th.
Click here for more information.