Welcome to Marty Tankleff's March on for Brain Injury Page. This is where you will hear the tragic and inspiring story of Kourtney Tankleff (my daughter). I hope that after you read below, you will join us in our goal of raising money, spreading awareness and education!!! Helping us raise money, helps advance the Brain Injury Association of New York's great cause. In the end, we want you to join Team Lil Tank and share this page. Together we can make a difference.
On November 18, 2016, my daughter Kourtney, was more than your average 19-year-old. She had everything going for her: she was a straight A student, with an ultimate goal of becoming an equine veterinarian.
On November 18, 2016, she had a bright future ahead. I drove Kourtney up to Cornell University that day. After meeting with staff, she was informed verbally that they would accept her into the college - all she had to do was keep her grades up and turn in all of her paperwork. Imagine what Kourtney was feeling when she heard that her dream school would accept her and her future was in the palm of her hand.
Her future was bright and all her dreams were looking like they were going to come true. Little did I, my wife Laurie, or Kourtney know that would all come to a horribly tragic and preventable end.
November 22, 2016, will forever stand out as the day Kourtney's life changed forever (as did mine and Laurie's), in more ways than you can ever imagine. That day, Kourtney went to school to get an education. Laurie & I sent her to college to learn. She attended an equine class that day and got thrown/bucked from a horse. Kourtney sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”). After receiving this life altering diagnosis, Kourtney ended up being diagnosed with a central nervous system disease called RSD/CRPS as a direct result of the TBI. RSD/CRPS has no cure and is the most painful disease in the world, above cancer, amputation and child birth.
Our family was struck with tragedy that day. We’re still a family in tragedy because Kourtney will never be the person she was on November 18th. To be honest the only reason she knows about the 18th is because of social media and our family; if it wasn’t for that, she wouldn’t remember going to Cornell. She also planned on shadowing an equine veterinarian in the Summer of 2017 and doing an independent research project with a professor in the Spring of 2017. That dream went down the drain too. She went from being a 4.0 in college, too struggling with things like math, reading, spelling, and writing. Even the easiest things, such as opening a drink, and tying shoes give her a hard time. There are times when she can’t remember her age, the year, the month, what she did yesterday, and, oh and last week - yeah that’s long gone!
That day changed Kourtney - she no longer recognizes the person looking back at her in the mirror .
This story is a parent and a child’s worst nightmare, even though it is our reality. It is a story that every parent, guardian, aunt, uncle, relative and child needs to hear and learn about. Imagine sending your college kid to school to obtain an education - instead they receive injuries that will directly affect every aspect of their life moving forward. However, there is something you can do to help those who have suffered and those that will suffer in the future. There is an organization in New York called the Brain Injury Association of New York State (which is the local chapter of the Brain Injury Association of America), that helps those with brain injuries. They named Kourtney the 2019 March on for Brain Injury Young Adult Honoree. As an Honoree, she is determined to raise awareness and help raise funds for the Brain Injury Association of New York State and I am hopeful you will help us in this journey.