Dear Athens High School and the Entire Troy Community,
There really aren’t any words sufficient to describe what this week has meant to our family. We witnessed some incredible things being done to honor the memory of Jenna. Troy Athens High School Charity Week raised over $155,400!! How incredible is that! The most beautiful part of this story was to see an entire school body – staff, students, parents, coaches, alumni – and an entire community all come together for one cause. It could never have been accomplished otherwise. Jenna left us a legacy of love. They say that love creates unity, and this week has certainly proven that.
We can’t express enough the amount of gratitude we have for each of you. That you would honor Jenna’s memory in such a way is something that will stay with our family forever. From the moment Jenna was diagnosed we were embraced by this community, and in the 6 years since her passing that has not changed. You are all still here. No one has left. No one has forgotten. You comforted her in her illness and you honor her after her passing.
Jenna was just 11 years old when she passed away, and 8 of her 11 years were spent fighting cancer. Jenna never knew a life without clinic appointments, surgeries, pokes and MRI’s, yet she found more joy in life, in the every-day little things of life, than anyone I know. It didn’t matter where she was or what her circumstance was. What mattered most to Jenna were people. All people. She made friends with everyone from the hospital valet to the nurses and office staff.
Being able to give gifts through Believe in Miracles was such an important part of Jenna’s life. Every gift we give now, since Jenna’s passing, I feel in some way is a gift to Jenna. I can imagine her smiling over each and every gift.
Believe in Miracles has grown from helping 2-3 children a year to now over 40 children a year. The more than 180 wishes we have granted could never have been possible without the support of all of you. Not only has this community embraced us during Charity Week, but you’ve also supported our JennaThon 5K at Troy High School and Jenna’s Ice Cream Sale at Faith@Work bookstore. Athens High School has honored Jenna in many ways, including raising money and wearing jerseys with her name at their last football game of the year.
Thank you for believing in us, in our mission, and for encouraging us to continue helping young children like Jenna. Our mission continues as we look forward to helping more kids in our community like #TeamCaroline. We gladly welcome anyone who would like to get involved and help us make Miracles happen for Michigan children.
If there’s one message to take away from Jenna’s legacy it would be to love like Jenna did. In the 11 years she spent here with us Jenna changed hearts with her genuine love and caring. She never held back. Jenna didn’t have to accomplish worldly things to make a difference in the world. Her love did that. What if we only had 11 years? What would our legacy be? My hope is that we can continue to spread the love and unity that this year’s Charity Week did.
From the bottom of our hearts we thank you, and we thank God for the blessing of each of you.
With much gratitude,
The Kast Family
Please enjoy these photos of some of the ways the Troy Community has been involved in keeping Jenna’s spirit of joy and generosity so present throughout the years: