Kolby Brown was one of six students for the inaugural year of Crossway Academy in 2011. He and his younger brother Kyden had been receiving therapy at Crossway Pediatric Therapy when the Academy opened.
I remember meeting Ja’Net in the waiting room and introducing me to her two adorable boys. Kolby wide eyed, loved and greeted everyone with a smile and a hug! Kyden on the other hand was a little guy and not so sure. He clung to his mother giving me a look of “Is this another therapist that is going to take me away from my Mommy!” When a therapist did come to take him, Ja’Net would reassure him she’d be waiting and everything was OK. Once the therapy session started, he’d wipe away his tears and work hard with Mel. She had a gentle touch that made him at ease. With Mel, the therapy was play for Kyden.
Kolby started the Academy in August of 2011 completing first and then second grade with us. He flourished in a small environment and made incredible progress. We spent five days a week, six hours a day together. Every morning is share time where students tell about the day before or the weekend. Every day, and I mean every day, Kolby shared of Kyden Brown. He never said just Kyden, it was always “Kyden Brown did …” The love he had for his little brother was evident in his words on a daily basis. Occasionally I’d hear of the things that Kyden did that made him frustrated, but not often. “Kyden Brown took my popcorn!” Kolby never stayed mad for long, especially when it came to Kyden.
Kolby left to go to a Charter School in 2013. I sent his parents an email saying I understood but cried a few tears at not having him at the Academy. I was extremely proud of his accomplishments but hated to see him go. Everyone at Crossway loved Kobly very much!
The Browns let me know in October that Kyden had suffered multiple strokes. Amazingly he beat the odds and recovered, learning to walk the second time in his life. Kyden had a heart condition since birth and had already faced so many obstacles in his young life. He was a fighter from day one! Kyden’s heart was failing and he needed a heart transplant. The family worked with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association to raise money and awareness. They formed Kyden’s Keepers to keep everyone informed of his progress.
The Browns told me that Kolby would be returning to Crossway Academy for the 2014 year. Honestly I whooped when I heard the message on my phone from Ja’Net! Kolby also returned to camp this summer so he could have some time to have fun. The Browns at this point had been living at the hospital since January. They were stretched beyond measure.
Kolby again shared stories of Kyden Brown and exactly what was going on at the hospital every day. He told us about IV fluids, monitors, the nurses and yes, even the cafeteria! He had a great summer, but the worry was in his eyes. I comforted him every day as much as possible.
The last day of camp was when I got the news of Kyden’s passing. I was devastated for this family.
Yesterday I attended the Celebration of Life for Kyden Justus Brown at Rockwell A.M.E. Zion Church. It was the most beautiful, heart lifting service I have ever attended. Although everyone’s hearts were broken, we all left feeling a sense of peace.
The plan was for Koby and Kyden to come to Crossway Academy together once Kyden recovered and was ready to enter Kindergarten. Since this cannot be, Shelley and I have discussed starting the Kyden Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund. We don’t have all the details yet, but plan on announcing them soon.
Kyden will never be forgotten. He will live in our hearts and memories forever. The minister said Kyden’s life will have purpose. He may not be able to attend Crossway Academy, but another deserving child will do so in his name. For you precious boy, it is our honor!