An Omaha Police sergeant got the tough news when his daughter was a young girl that she had leukemia. Courtni Kopietz has been cancer-free for 19 years. Now, at the age of 26, she wanted to mark that anniversary by doing something special to help others.
Sgt. Jeff Kopietz and his daughter went on a roughly 20 mile walk from Portugal to Spain as part of the Camino de Santiago which is also called the St. James Way pilgrimage. For eight days, they walked 12-16 miles a day.
Sgt. Kopietz said one thing that stood out about the journey is that it did not take them through big cities but rather farmland and small villages.
They raised more than $10,000 to benefit biomedical science at the Morgridge Institute for Research where Courtni now works in Madison, Wisconsin.
Courtni was on the receiving end of that field of work nearly two decades ago after her battle with leukemia.
"One of her side effects that she had during her chemo was that she avascular necrosis in her knees which caused some issues so she was on crutches or in a wheelchair for a year and a half or so, " Sgt. Kopietz said.
She wanted to raise awareness about how biomedical research helps people and that's why she set off on this walk.
Sgt. Kopietz said his daughter is tough, "she never really was a complainer, never has been, and it defines her as a person, helps define us as a family, just how we set our priorities."
Two things they hold most dear are evident through the walk - spending time with family and helping others.
You can learn more about their walk by visiting Courtni's Go Fund Me page. You can still donate as well.