Kortney Rose Gillette was a smiling and active 9-year-old who was dealt the most unfortunate of hands. In December of 2005, the Oceanport girl was diagnosed with a rare type of brain tumor called brainstem glioma that was inoperable with no known cure. Doctors gave her less than 2 years to live with a less than 5% survival rate.  Doctors told the family that radiation would merely buy some time.

Still, Kortney battled through treatments at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia before succumbing to the illness on April 27, 2006.

While Kortney's life was cut short by the brain tumor, her legacy continues to live on. Shortly after her passing, Kortney's mother Kristen decided to take up a cause to raise money and awareness for this rare type of cancer.

She started the Kortney Rose Foundation.

"Putting all my energy into that after Kortney died was therapy for me, and really continues to be," Kristen explained, "It's just something I have to do I feel like to build a legacy for her."

The charity has made a major impact in just 5 years of existence, receiving national recognition, as well as raising a lot of money and a lot of awareness.

In the last 5 years, the Kortney Rose Foundation has donated over $528,000 to to the brain tumor research program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the very hospital where Kortney received treatment.

"People need to know that it's affecting these kids, and we have to find better treatment and cures," she said.

The foundation has a slew of annual fundraisers, including entering teams into area marathons, as well as the yearly Kortney's Challenge event.

Even more impressive than the amount of money they've raised in such a short time, is the way they have been able to raise it.

"I gotta tell you I don't have huge corporate sponsors. That money has all come from the small donors. It adds up. So, people think they can't make a difference. Any amount makes a difference."

Kristen continues to actively fundraise and put her efforts into to the hopes of one day learning more about the deadly illness.

"I just want to reach as many people as I can because people don't know about brain tumors. They really don't. It's like a hidden disease. And I don't want it be hidden anymore."

Learn more about the charity and how you can help by visiting their website.



Ocean County Library

Six branches of the Ocean County Library are offering a program aimed at helping children with autism. "Music with Friends" is designed to give autistic children and their families the opportunity to sing, move, drum and use rhythm instruments. The program runs through April, and is offered in the Brick, Barnegat, Lacy, Manchester, Plumsted and Toms River branches. To learn more, click here

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

Helping people with mental illness is the goal of the Behavorial Health Program at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. The goal is to reach out to anyone in need of mental health, and to help return those individuals to a more satisfying existence. The programs at NBIMC addresses mental health issues that cover the entire spectrum, from anxiety disorders, depression and adjustment disorders, to chronic or persistent mental illenss.