The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 14, 2012

Foster a portrait of courage


DANVILLE — Courage can come in many forms. It can be of the superhero variety, with bulging muscles and lots of “Pow!” and “Wham! And it can come from someone who does not fit that traditional mold.

Kaitlyn Foster of Westville certainly didn’t fit the mold of a large and powerful person. But she certainly displayed more courage than most people twice her size.

Kaitlyn was diagnosed with a heart condition as a child. Her health deteriorated to the point where a heart transplant was necessary.

Three years ago, she received the new heart. Her fearlessness in the face of such a challenge was incredible. Her life appeared to be back on track. Then her body began to reject her new heart. After years of fighting illness, recovering from surgeries and dealing with uncertainty, her 15-year-old body could no longer fight.

Kaitlyn passed away Tuesday at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, where she had been a patient since Aug. 17.

In her 15 years, Kaitlyn not only had dealt with her own serious health issues, but had compassion enough to be worried about other children as well. She established her own charity, the Kaitlyn Foster Foundation, to help other young people facing health challenges.

Kaitlyn didn’t see herself as a hero. She was a teenager who wanted to enjoy high school and be a contestant in the Junior Miss Pageant during Westville’s Labor Day celebration.

She certainly was a hero by anyone’s definition. And her legacy of strength, caring and courage will serve as example to us all.