For many, the term “bucket list” has a negative connotation as it is associated with a list of things to do before dying. For Kaydee Koch, creating a bucket list was simply a way to tap into her creative side, that part of herself that dared to dream bigger and make life more meaningful. She started keeping a bucket list when she was in middle school and never stopped. Kaydee’s bucket lists were bold, colorful, imaginative and inspiring, just like the girl who created them.
When she was first diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma, a rare form of pediatric bone cancer, her bucket list project took on new meaning. Not only did she have her own list of things she wanted to experience once she was in remission, but she also felt inspired to share her love of bucket lists with other pediatric cancer patients. She believed that there was great power in creating a list of things you wanted to accomplish as a way to focus on the positive and stay inspired to put those dreams into action one day.
Always thinking of others, Kaydee started talking about giving back during her first in-patient treatment in 2018. Her initial idea was to give art supplies to pediatric patients so they could create their own bucket lists. She thought the simple exercise of making a bucket list would inspire them to remain positive and future-focused throughout their treatment. Upon meeting Kylie Schwartz, a vibrant 22 year old who was receiving treatment for Rhabdomyosarcoma, Kaydee’s initial idea snowballed into something much larger.
Through her connection with Kylie, and after turning 18 herself, Kaydee recognized a huge gap in service for 18-26 year olds. She immediately felt called to create a foundation focused on granting dreams and experiences to young adults in similar circumstances. Kaydee chose the name Project Sol Flower to honor Kylie, whose favorite flower was the sunflower, and to include her Mexican heritage by using the Spanish word for sun. The end result is an organization, conceived of and created by a remarkable 20 year old woman, dedicated to spreading light and love through granting bucket list dreams in her honor.