Giving comfort in face of overwhelming grief

COURTNEY Keast clutched her favourite pooh bear in her final hours of life. 

There is no doubting the comfort the bear brought the Kyneton girl, and now her family has found a unique way to bring that comfort to other sick children. 

In the face of overwhelming grief, her mother, Jodie, delivered more than 350 soft toys to the Royal Children's Hospital - where Courtney was cared for after a boating accident which claimed her life. 

Most of these were given at Courtney's funeral in lieu of flowers and will now be sold, with all proceeds going to the hospital. 

Ms Keast is planning to set up donation boxes around the region to collect even more teddies. 

"I am working on another delivery for Courtney's birthday," Ms Keast said. 

"On January 1, she would be turning 13 - a teenager.

"I would like to reach a total of 500 soft toys and bears to donate in her memory."

A man has been charged over the incident, which occurred at Lake Eppalock in January. He will face court on September 22.

And while Ms Keast waits for that day, she will continue to keep Courtney's memory alive.

"My purpose in life was to help Courtney to become the best version of herself in her lifetime," Ms Keast said. 

"I only got to do that for 12 years. Now I must ensure that her joy of life and her love of everyone and everything continues. That is my purpose now.

"Courtney will never be forgotten while I still have breath in my body." 

Royal Children Hospital Foundation chief executive Sue Hunt said the generosity shown by the Keast family at such a difficult time in their lives was heart-warming.

"We are honoured to be able to support them, as they honour the memory of their beautiful daughter Courtney Faith," she said. 

"The Keast family have donated the teddies to the Royal Children Hospital auxiliaries who will sell them in the hospital and donate all the funds to hospital.”

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