Kate’s Kart hits milestone, namesake’s legacy lives on

One of several Kate's Karts sits inside the group's office in Leo Crossing.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Kate’s Kart, the group formed in the memory of an 18-month-old, is marking a milestone of getting books in the hands of sick kids.

“All of a sudden, this foreign environment becomes a safe place,” Krista Layman said.

Layman understands the importance of books in hospitals which provide comfort for kids.

“They’re scared and they’re in a foreign place and there’s lots of strangers that are coming to them,” Layman explains. “If we come and give them a book, and it has a character that they know and love, that translates to comfort and it’s something that they know and all of a sudden, this foreign environment is a safe place.”

Two people help organize books donated to Kate’s Kart before they taken to hospitals.

10 years ago this week, Krista and her husband Andy said goodbye to their little Kate after her short life.

Kate was comforted by the stories between covers, read to her during that time.

“Spent nearly half her life in the hospital battling heart defects and heart surgeries but a book brought her so much joy,” Layman added.

A decade later, Kate’s family is joined by more than 100 volunteers handing out books to other kids. 2017 was a big one, with 40,000 books delivered, adding to their growing total.

“We’ve passed out 186 thousand books, which we translate to 186 thousand smiles on kids faces who have been hurting or scared, and to know that so many people, donate, go out of their way, give, support us… it’s just truly humbling,” Layman said emotionally.

A picture of 18-month-old Kate hangs on an office wall at the Kate’s Kart main office.

The Kate’s Kart family will celebrate the decade of giving in the months ahead at places like the Festival of Trees, Three Rivers Parade and their annual ice cream social.

“For my husband and I, it’s just heartwarming to know, that even 10 years later, Kate has not been forgotten, there’s a legacy that’s been built in her name and the whole community has come on board,” Layman commented.

Layman told NewsChannel 15 that book donations are always welcomed, but the group could use money to keep deliveries rolling and supply books that are in high demand. You can find more information here, at the Kate’s Kart website.