Courtney was loveable, vibrant, and creative. She was special; she was special for far more reasons than a medical diagnosis.
On paper, Courtney earned many labels:
- DiGeorge Syndrome
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Medically Fragile
- Intellectual and Developmental Disability
- Visually and Hearing Impaired
- Special Needs
And the list goes on. Our family often joked that her medical history was over a mile long.
I've never been a huge fan of labels (however medically necessary they are). They can feel like limitations on the person you can become and seem to overlook the unique personality and life experience that make a person truly special.
Many stated that these labels would hold her back, but Courtney lived life to the fullest and lived as if her abilities were limitless.
Courtney had a zest for life, and her passion was contagious. Growing up, Courtney and I were inseparable. Our crazy antics often led to living room concerts and homemade theatrical productions. Family and friends often found themselves as (sometimes involuntary) captive audience members. Songs were sung loudly, costumes were worn proudly, and lines were delivered enthusiastically.
While her paper trail may leave behind a plethora of labels from doctors and society, the labels she created for herself left quite the legacy.
- Social butterfly
- Unapologetically herself
- Unconditionally Loving and Accepting
Courtney may have come into this world fragile, soft-spoken, and in need of entire medical departments for survival. Still, this fighter found her voice, her strength, and had a story to tell and a song to sing.
Growing up with a sister with special needs drastically shaped my life and propelled me into a journey that I am still discovering. Our relationship and her legacy ultimately inspired my dream to create Courtney's Corner after her passing in February of 2014. Courtney left a place in my heart, and in this world that could never be filled quite the same.
We created Courtney's Corner to give individuals with special needs the spotlight they deserve; to spark creativity, community, and confidence utilizing the creative arts. This platform empowers students to break the mold of the labels they live under, tell their stories, and challenge the audience to see the world from a new perspective.