Stories of Hope: Kori’s Story-Paying It Forward By Beth Meadows

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It’s easy to forget you’re talking with a 15 year old- when you’re talking with Kori Rimany.
Not only does she engage you in the conversation, she’s smart, bright, and already talking about
starting a business to help make a better future for others with CRPS. To say she’s focused would be an understatement.

Growing up with a very supportive family including “Goose” a Lab/Border Collie mix, sports were always part of her life. Kori played a lot of soccer and ice hockey when she was younger. Now, she may be on the sidelines – but she’s not sitting still.

We first learned of Kori’s remarkable story from the Gunnery School in Washington, Connecticut, where she is a sophomore. According to a news blog from the Gunnery Website:

“Day after day, Kori showed up for class, participated in school activities, and became an active member in the community, all the while showing very few signs of her medical condition.”
While she wasn’t really trying to conceal her CRPS, she just didn’t want to make an issue out of it.

Kori told The Gunnery; “I wanted to do something to help other kids who have been diagnosed.”
From there, she spearheaded a campus-wide fundraiser with her friends who helped her make cupcakes to sell at lunch and dinner. Kori‘s goal was to raise $300 which she far exceeded. Her contagious enthusiasm caught the attention of the Gunnery Prefects—a group of seniors who hold a prestigious leadership position at the school. They joined Kori’s cause by selling pizzas in the dorms and presented her with a check for $260. In total, Kori, with the help of her schoolmates, raised $1,150. “It feels good to know that people understand my situation and want to help. I’m not used to talking about the disease.” Since then, Kori is out to do more than just talk about CRPS.

Kori was 11 years old when she was diagnosed with CRPS after she slipped off a step on the playground and rolled her ankle. After the initial injury, her foot was put into a cast. Over time, the pain changed from bone pain to skin pain, and it was this startling change which motivated Kori’s mom, Heather, to further investigate what could be going on. Heather’s research led them to Dr. William Zempsky out of Hartford Children’s Medical in Connecticut. It was during this time Kori recalls the numerous trips to the doctor and how excruciating the pain would be, but her mom was always there and would take her for ice cream afterward. Kori acknowledges just how lucky she is to have all the love and support of her friends and family, including her school.

Together with Dr. Zempsky‘s early diagnosis and a great physical therapist team along with her mom’s perseverance, Kori’s CRPS is in remission; but her pain is still there. As Kori explains, “It’s more bone pain” now which brought Kori and her mom to a sports orthopedic surgeon who found that she had developed stress fractures from playing sports. After two surgeries where they scrapped the lining from the bone with the goal that this procedure would regenerate stronger lining around the shins. Kori is hopeful that she will find herself out on the soccer field again, but she’s realistic in tone when she says, “I know it will take a while”. She and her older brother Tyler will “on a good pain day” kick the ball around.

Going forward, Kori is interested in providing a support system for teenage girls. From the $1,150
she received from the school fundraisers; Kori is making “custom care bags” for patients who’ve been diagnosed with CRPS. At this time, she explains, “I’d like to focus on teenage girls because that’s who I relate to the most.” The contents of the bag will depend on each girl and the information Kori receives about them. The custom care bag can include a hand knitted (by a family friend) waiting room blanket, books, magazines, candy, all natural LUSH handmade bath products, and pajamas placed into a Vera Bradley tote bag. Kori explains, “The items in the bag are some of the comforts that helped me feel a bit better during my recovery. It’s the little things that I remember the most; the comfort items that helped me push through each day. It may seem silly, but small things like an ice cream cone can go a long way after an upsetting doctor’s appointment. “My goal is to provide these girls with some of the comforts that helped me feel a little bit better during my recovery.”

There is no doubt this young lady who has set her standard high and has already succeeded in her efforts to help young girls diagnosed with CPRS is far ahead of her field.

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