kasey kennedy 060314Eight-year-old Kasey Kennedy, a student at St. James School in Red Bank, with the members of the Red Bank Catholic Making Wishes Club – plus her little brother, Colin. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RBC Carnival 2104As a child with a life-threatening blood vessel disorder, Kasey Kennedy found herself with a decision to make four years ago. The Make A Wish Foundation was offering to fulfill whatever wish she might have.

But having spent a lot of time in hospitals with other kids, Kasey decided she want to help make their wishes come true, rather than her own.

Why, when she could have indulged in her own fantasies? “Because I met friends in the hospital,” she told redbankgreen.

“She did not want to go away or be a special person for a day,” said Kasey’s mother, Ashleigh Kennedy, a science teacher at Red Bank Catholic High. “She instead wanted to help grant the wishes of other children.”

That desire was put into motion by Ashleigh’s students, who formed their own Making Wishes Come True Club and put on a carnival at the school three years ago. The event raised more than $4,000, and was replicated last year, bringing in another $12,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation of New Jersey.

Since then, Kasey has additionally been diagnosed with an unrelated ailment that necessitated her having brain surgery last November. “It’s been a tough time,” her mother said, but Kasey has remained devoted to the carnival, and the expanding friend network that now includes the RBC club members and a couple of RBC alums.

One who joined is junior Emily Owendoff of Ocean Township, herself a former Wish child, who said she was “inspired by how Kasey just wanted to give back and help others.”

Kasey and the club hope to match or exceed last year’s fundraising, which allowed several children to take trips to Walt Disney World.

The carnival, scheduled for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. James, on Peters Place, features games, rides, music and food prepared by Red Bank police – Kasey’s father is borough Patrolman Patrick Kennedy – and volunteer firefighters.

Admission is $20 to $25 per person, which includes food and access to all of the attractions. For more information, contact Ashleigh Kennedy at or at (732) 615-7277.