Playground equipment added to remember Kourageous Keith
STOW – What is red and white and goes around and around?
A piece of playground equipment called a stand and spin will serve as a reminder to Kourageous Keith, a 12-year-old boy who died of cancer, so he’s not forgotten.
A plaque with his name is in the center of the red and white circle that spins as children run around in a path already worn deep by its popularity.
Keith Burkett died Nov. 12, 2018, after a six-year battle fighting a rare type of cancer called undifferentiated soft tissue sarcoma. The community came together several times to raise funds for Keith’s family and provided him with an early and final Christmas Oct. 21, 2018, with a parade and holiday decorations for him.
Stow community mourns cancer victim:Stow community mourns death of Kourageous Keith who brought the community together.
Mayor John Pribonic asked Keith’s mother, Taylore Woodard and Kelly Bossell, who raised the money for the playground equipment, to cut a ribbon to officially open the addition to the Kid Station Playground known familiarly as the "red playground."
This fire station-themed playground is located at Oregon Trail Park at 4200 Fishcreek Road. It was built in 2005 and is adjacent to Stow Fire Station #3 and Safety Village.
Bossell, like many Stow residents, didn’t know Woodard, but wanted to do something for Keith.
“I came across his mom’s post and followed his [cancer] journey and wanted to do something for him,” Bossell said. “He meant so much to me.”
It was her first time raising funds and took about five months with the community’s help, Bossell said. A lot of people came through. She thanks the entire community of Stow and others who donated to make the equipment a reality.
“I promised we wouldn’t forget him,” Woodard said. “I formed so many bonds with people who reached out and friendships formed from it.”
Pribonic said whether people knew Keith or not, they came out to the parades and events to help Keith.
“Out of that terrible tragedy this will make kids happy and they will see the plaque and ask 'who is Kourageous Keith?'” Pribonic said.
Woodard said Keith loved the red playground, and the equipment was something Keith would have wanted.
“He had so much energy,” Woodard said. “It would have been something he wanted to ride.”
Woodard and Bossell said Keith brought the community of Stow together.
“We truly miss him but his memory will live on,” Woodard said. “I’m happy he brought a whole community together. I thank you for loving my boy as much as I do. He won’t be forgotten. He was an amazing kid.”
Pibonic said he looks at requests for parades and special events differently after the experiences that Kourageous Keith produced.
“Now we can make a difference,” Pribonic said. “Kourageous Keith made international news.”
“People from all over the world were inspired by Keith,” Woodard added.
Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at email@example.com