Charlotte Kaye was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 3 years old, had two emergency brain surgeries and spent seven weeks in ICU at Hackensack University Hospital’s children’s hospital Joseph M. Sanzari Chiildren’s Hospital. After a full recovery Charlotte, who is now 17 and who missed her first dance recital due to her hospitalization, has now gone on to dance competitively and created the Charlotte’s Dance for a Chance event at The Ranney School in Tinton Falls, NJ to raise money for The Kortney Rose Foundation to fund pediatric brain tumor research.
Charlotte set up the event at her school, The Ranney School in 2016 and it was very successful. For the upcoming 2017 event, she worked with her school administration to allow other area high schools to participate to raise more awareness and money. The Kortney Rose Foundation is extremely grateful to Charolotte and her mom Jenny for their hard work in putting this huge event together.
If you are interested in attending this year’s dance on April 13, 2017 from 7-11 pm at Ranney School (235 Hope Road, Tinton Falls, NJ) click the button below to go to the website and follow the instructions there.
Eight days before Charlotte Kaye’s third birthday, Dr. Stephen Thompson, director of the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program at Hackensack University Medical Center, sat Charlotte’s mother, Jennifer, down in his office and told her the awful news: Charlotte had a brain tumor.
The diagnosis was the culmination of months of increasing worry about Charlotte’s health. Charlotte, who had always been an easy, healthy child who loved to dance, started to develop a stiff neck, often lost her balance, wasn’t eating well, and became easily irritated. Jennifer took her to a number of specialists, but nothing they suggested seemed to work. Finally, Charlotte’s pediatrician sent her to see Dr. Thompson.
Seeing the MRI that indicated Charlotte’s tumor, Thompson notified his pediatric neurosurgery colleague, Dr. Arno Fried, and admitted Charlotte immediately. “She was in grave danger because the tumor was causing a buildup of fluid in her brain”, he says. For Charlotte’s parents, Jennifer and Jeffrey, as well as the entire family, the weekend of waiting for tests to be done and planning surgery was excruciating.
On Monday, using microsurgical techniques and a sophisticated navigational system, Dr. Fried removed the entire tumor. Charlotte was later selected by her doctors as the “patient of their careers” for Hackensack’s 125th Anniversary Medical Journal and is considered a medical miracle.
One of the things that Charlotte remembers most from her time following her two emergency brain surgeries and seven weeks in the ICU is that she had to miss her very first dance recital. Little did she know at the time that Sarah Killian, her future best friend, was dancing in that very same recital.
Over the summer of 2015, at the age of 16, Charlotte became interested in doing something to help other children who were in the unfortunate situation she had been in. After months of thought, Charlotte came up with the idea of having a danceathon at her school, Ranney School in Tinton Falls, NJ, to “make up for” the very first dance recital that she missed and raise awareness and funds for pediatric brain tumor research. She immediately called Sarah, who she became close with during her time at Ranney, and asked her if she would be willing to help. Together, the two started Charlotte’s Dance for a Chance, a danceathon featuring live music, dancing, food, and fun to benefit the Kortney Rose Foundation of Oceanport, NJ (www.thekortneyrosefoundation.org). The girls poured all of their energy, passion, and time into the dance, and, in its first year, the event raised almost six thousand dollars for the cause; it it is now an annual event at Ranney open to all schools in the Monmouth County area.
Both girls are overwhelmed by the support their community has shown the cause. Charlotte explained, “I can speak from personal experience when I say that something as important as this never leaves you. The outcome was more than I could have ever imagined.” Everyone is encouraged to participate in this event in any way that they can. In fact, the event’s motto is, “it’s YOUR chance to dance!”
Charlotte’s Dance for a Chance: 2016
Amount raised: $5,600
Prizes included: suite tickets to 5 Seconds of Summer concert; courtside seats to Nets game; suite tickets to Knicks game; field level box seats to Yankees game; suite tickets to Billy Joel concert; $1000 of merchandise from Bluemercury; products from Vineyard Vines, Rook Coffee, Nordstrom, Lululemon, South Moon Under, Northshore, and many more!