On January 12, 2020, in conjunction with the Chiefs home playoff game against the Houston Texans, Chris Bottcher was recognized by Blue KC and KCFX/Chiefs Radio Network for his work with Kids With Courage, a non-profit dedicated to helping kids with Type 1 diabetes.
“Kids With Courage has such a beautiful mission, and Chris Bottcher has played a major role in the size of the impact the organization is able to have on kids and families in our community,” said Christina Lively, Blue KC’s Department Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “Through Kids With Courage, Chris and the organization’s team of staff and volunteers are helping to greatly encourage and improve the lives of hundreds of kids facing Type 1 diabetes. We’re proud to honor him as a Blue KC Here for Good Hero.”
In 2006, Bottcher and his wife Daphna’s youngest child was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (a.k.a. Juvenile Diabetes), and they had to watch their son enter a new world of medical processes and procedures and begin a lifetime journey with a condition for which there is no cure. About a year after the diagnosis, Daphna felt driven to start a foundation to help newly diagnosed Type 1 children and their families; she did not want others to walk away from the hospital as they did with feelings of despair, sadness, and overwhelm. They knew they were capable of providing tools, education, comfort and support, and mostly empowerment.
“Diabetes is a life-altering and devastating disease, but Daphna was inspired by our own child’s brave and courageous approach to dealing with it,” said Bottcher. “She took that inspiration and developed the mission and pursued the creation of an organization that proactively promotes courage as its cornerstone.”
Now 13 years after the official formation of the Kids With Courage Foundation—the result of Daphna’s inspiration—the organization has helped thousands of children and families throughout Kansas and Missouri by providing opportunities that empower, educate and create positive outcomes in their lives.
Included in Kids With Courage’s services are educational classes and workshops, a scholarship program and online resources for families who live outside of the served areas. Yet one of the foundation’s most unique offerings is what they term the Brave Box Program. Brave Boxes are wooden boxes given to families with newly diagnosed children that are filled with helpful, useful and practical tools, comfort and support items and essential educational materials, information and resources. The goal is to ensure that children, young people and families feel less scared, have everything they need when they get home from the hospital and guidance and direction to start their new journey to face the difficult change with grace and courage.
The first Brave Boxes (known as a “Crate full of Courage” at the time) were delivered in September 2007. Since then Kids With Courage have expanded deliveries to other hospitals and now have packaged and delivered several thousand Brave Boxes across Missouri and Kansas. And it is this program that is particularly close to Bottcher’s heart, as he is able to put his handiwork to use in building each one.
“We get some pretty heart-felt personal notes, letters, emails and phone calls about how the Brave Box they received gave them such an uplifting message at a very sad time,” said Bottcher, who has lived in the Kansas City area for 30 years. “It is rewarding to hear the personal stories from parents or grandparents that recognize our Brave Boxes are provided with helpful items to aid in managing this horrible disease, as well as comfort items for the Type 1 child. I think we can all use a little boost when you hear from a doctor that you have a horrible life-altering disease where no cure exists and you will have to deal with it daily for the rest of your life. It is truly a good thing to be able to spread some joy at a time of need.”
Instilled with a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others by his parents, Bottcher values the opportunity he has to bless others in the community he calls home.
“It’s rewarding to know that we are positively impacting the lives of others during some of their lowest of times,” said Bottcher, who was humbled to learn of his Blue KC Here for Good Hero selection. “I appreciate the recognition, but I am even more excited that Kids with Courage is getting the recognition from Blue KC. Kids With Courage has been doing this for 13 years, and we try to get better every year. It’s a fantastically lean organization operating with all volunteers that does really good things for many kids and families facing Type 1 diabetes. So, if my humbling experience helps people learn more about Kids With Courage and makes them want to support us in our mission, then it’s a wildly great thing! Thank you, Blue KC, for helping us further our message and continue our mission!”
The Blue KC Here for Good Hero program recognizes strong community partners and the men and women who work or volunteer with those organizations to make Kansas City a better place to live, work and play. Prior to each Chiefs home game, Blue KC selects one honoree to attend the game, while also enjoying the KCFX/Chiefs Radio Network Tailgate Party and a visit to the radio broadcast booth. Blue KC also donates $1,000 to the organization of each honoree.