It was August 27, 2015, at the age of 14, and two weeks before Kelsey’s freshman year was to start, that doctors found a large brain tumor diagnosed as Glioblastoma (GBM). Kelsey was defiant throughout her illness and lived with stubbornness and pride until the very end. She passed away July 8, 2017 just five days shy of her 16th birthday, at home, surrounded by her mother, father, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, all who loved her so. As her parents we knew that after we lost our girl, we would find a way to both give meaning to what Kelsey endured and help other families facing the unimaginable. We promised.
Kelsey Rebecca Kittleson was an exceptional girl who made us so very proud. Before her diagnosis, she was a high honors student, an athlete, the lead in her school musicals, a musician playing piano and cello, and a gifted soprano singer who was invited to sing in the St. John’s Collegium Choir. She was funny, goofy, and loved 80’s movies, The Big Bang Theory, and classic bands like Journey and Queen. What impressed us most was her desire, starting at a young age, to find ways to make a difference for others. As she started to come into her own, she would find causes that needed her help and then developed her own plan to make a difference. For her 13th birthday, she created a donation drive for the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society that filled an entire SUV full of items. In her 8th grade year she sketched out a tutoring concept for fellow middle school students, met with her principal for approval, recruited friends to help, and got her plan up and running. After her diagnosis, when playing sports or instruments was too much for her, she taught music lessons and coached kindergarten soccer, always finding ways to give of herself. In the spring of 2017 she was one of Channel 13’s Kids Who Care award recipients, recognizing her commitment and dedication to making a difference in her community.