- Tina Fowler
A Cork in the Road
Kelly Cornett was just a 17-year-old girl, playing basketball, and dealing with the normal stress of high school. It was during her junior year that a basketball injury during one of her games would change her life path. An opposing player pulled her down from behind during a rebound in the game, and consequently Kelly suffered a traumatic head injury. She blacked out for several hours and didn’t know who she was when she woke up in the hospital. Doctors decided she needed a CT scan. The scan concluded that there was no internal damage from the concussion, but it also showed an unrelated and much more problematic issue. Kelly’s ventricles were three times their normal size, and they were completely swollen with fluid. Doctors were in shock - they said that most people with the state that Kelly’s brain was in wouldn’t have been able to function. The severity of the condition made it necessary to transfer her to the emergency room at Children’s Minnesota in Minneapolis. At Children’s, doctors discovered that Kelly had a brain tumor located directly where cerebral spinal fluid normally circulates in the brain, leaving her body unable to drain it. Her tumor was also located so deep within her brain that doctors were unable to operate. Luckily, they discovered the tumor was benign, but they had to relieve Kelly from the hydrocephalus, which is a buildup of fluid that can often affect very young children. Doctors decided to place a shunt under Kelly’s skin that taps into her ventricles and drains the cerebral spinal fluid into her abdominal region. However, due to the nature of the disease, her matured brain and body tried to reject the shunt on multiple occasions. Kelly was subjected to eight surgeries within three years. Eventually, her shunt stabilized, and it has helped her body function for almost 15 years.
To this day, Kelly’s shunt and tumor are still in place, and she and her doctors have the responsibility of monitoring her condition with annual MRI scans. Kelly’s experiences with this medical condition have fueled her passion to support research for pediatric brain issues. She realized from personal involvement that pediatric medical problems not only affect the child in care, but also the entire family. Kelly often thinks back on all the heartache she watched her parents go through while at her side in the hospital. As a young professional, Kelly has now created her own business that can also help to raise funds for various charities, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Kelly’s business, A Cork in the Road, is giving her a way to connect with people and collaborate with organizations all over the city. This wine consulting and media brand was born from Kelly’s love of wine and all the aspects of travel, science, agriculture, and history that wine has brought into her life. She used to manage a winery during a time after graduate school where she participated in every activity of wine production from sorting grapes, creating blends from barrels, and working with distributors and hosting dinners at upscale restaurants. Now, A Cork in the Road helps consumers and businesses with wine marketing, designing tasting classes, and hosting wine events in the Atlanta area. Kelly’s tasting event on July 17that Vinoteca in Inman Park is designed specifically to raise funds that can be donated to Polo in the Pines. We are so grateful for Kelly’s passion to support Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and we are extremely excited to learn from her vast knowledge of wine while partnering for this upcoming event.
You can learn more about A Cork in the Road at www.acorkintheroad.comand you can follow Kelly’s @acorkintheroad adventures on social media.