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Something Incredible Is Happening In Texas Right Now

by Nate St. Pierre on November 18, 2013

I work for a company called GiveForward, and we help people do fundraising for medical need. I was browsing through some of our pages just now, and I came across an amazing story that needs to be shared.

Kourtney Gruner’s son Otto is a year and a half old, and the family just received the worst possible news: he has an aggressive, nearly untreatable form of brain cancer, and just a short time left to live. After many tears, prayers, and long conversations, the Gruner family has decided that rather than subject little Otto to a myriad of treatments leading him to suffer from horrible side effects (with minimal chance of recovery), the best course of action is to get him back home to the little town of Navasota (population 7,000) and make his last days as joy- and love-filled as possible.

Both Kourtney and her husband have new jobs, and don’t have the money or vacation time necessary to stay home with Otto full-time during his final days, so a friend of theirs started a GiveForward page to help raise some money to take care of the medical expenses and give them the time they need with their son. You can take a look at the page here: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/kpg3/gruner-family-assistance-fund

You’ll notice something amazing when you visit the page: There have been over 1,500 donations totaling over $100,000 on the first day. My buddy at work who called my attention to the page told me that there’s been no major high-value donations, and no media coverage. All the money has come from random individuals giving small amounts.

This show of kindness is incredible in and of itself, but when I dug a little deeper to learn the rest of the story, I was blown away.

Little Otto’s mom Kourtney and her husband both went to Texas A&M (home of the famous Aggies football team). Back in ’01 she was responsible for one of the biggest fundraising efforts ($250,000) the campus had ever seen, for the victims of September 11th. But the way that she and four of her friends raised the money became one of the proudest moments in Aggie history.

They wanted to honor the fallen and show their support for their families, New York City, and the rest of America – all the way from College Station, Texas. The Aggies had a big game on September 22nd, with 80,000 people scheduled to attend. Kourtney and her friends had the idea to get all the fans to wear coordinated red, white and blue all around the stadium, so that week they started printing colored t-shirts and selling them to raise money for NYC families who lost loved ones in the attacks.

They sold 80,000 total, and 30,000 on game day alone. After they had collected the money, Kourtney and her friends personally flew to New York to deliver the funds they had raised. This is the result of their work – what the stadium looked like during the game (click for larger):

aggies2

aggies1

A&M fball

Texas A&M still holds September 22nd, 2001 as a special day in its history. And when they heard this week that Kourtney’s little boy received the devastating news of terminal brain cancer, the school decided to repay the gift that she herself had given to them over a decade ago. A few people posted the idea on the Aggie community forums, and within a single day, current students and past alumni with grateful hearts had raised well over $100,000 for Kourtney and her family to pay for medical bills – and more importantly, to spend the last remaining days together with their son.

Texas, today you remind us what it’s like to be an American, to love and take care of those who constantly give back.

If you’d like to help this wonderful family, you can visit their page to donate, or just share this story with your own friends and family by using the buttons below.

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  • Lacy

    Thanks for this wonderful story about Kourtney Gruner, her family, her leadership at A&M, the Aggie and Texas community.

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