Courtney Good, 12, of Kingsport, Tennessee, a sixth-grader at Innovation Academy, started collecting food for families tending to their hospitalized children when she was 3 years old, and recently began using her story of surviving an extremely premature birth to help the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) raise money for sick kids. Courtney weighed only 1 1/2 pounds when she was born 15 weeks prematurely. She spent the first four months of her life in a neonatal intensive care unit, and had to return to the hospital a few more times in the following years. Courtney recalled how her family had to spend Christmas in the hospital with her one year, and wanted to do something for other families in a similar situation. With her parents’ help, she came up with a plan for “Courtney’s Food Wagon,” and began collecting food donations so that families don’t have to leave the hospital to eat.
To promote her project, Courtney handed out fliers, participated in a parade, got her school involved and hosted a Facebook page. Every Christmas since, she has delivered pre-packaged food to the family kitchen of the pediatrics unit and NICU at the hospital where she was born. Because of her charitable work and her birth story, Courtney was selected to be a CMN ambassador last year. In that role, she has spoken at press conferences, appeared in advertisements and participated in fundraising events. In addition, her face has been featured throughout 22 Walmart stores, which have raised more than $220,000 for CMN. “I love that my story is helping to raise money for sick children,” said Courtney. “I hope that families with sick children can see how healthy I am now and it will give them hope.”