Two years gone, but never forgotten: The legacy of the strongest kid

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Two years gone, but never forgotten: The legacy of the strongest kid

Will Kohn, smiling bright while sitting on Pleasant Valley’s football field.

Will Kohn, smiling bright while sitting on Pleasant Valley’s football field.

Chris Kohn

Will Kohn, smiling bright while sitting on Pleasant Valley’s football field.

Chris Kohn

Chris Kohn

Will Kohn, smiling bright while sitting on Pleasant Valley’s football field.

Maggie Peterson, Business Manager

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It has been two years since Will Kohn passed away after a long and hard battle with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). 

HLHS is a congenital heart defect that occurs when the left side of the heart is underdeveloped and affects normal blood flow through the heart. 

Will had numerous heart surgeries in attempts to correct the defect. But in 2014, Will was placed on the official heart transplant list due to the condition of his heart. 

He received a new heart in September of 2017 and was able to come home a few months later in December. Unfortunately, Will was diagnosed with large B-cell lymphoma in January of 2018 and despite putting up his best fight, Will passed away on January 27, 2018. 

But this does not mean Will has been forgotten by Spartan Nation. 

Spartan Nation has celebrated Will’s life over the last two years and his legacy is still alive and well. The Kohn family was very generous in creating two different scholarships for the PV foundation in honor of Will. The first scholarship is from Will’s memorial fund for seniors who are going into the medical field. 

In August of 2018 the Kohn family hosted a run/walk in celebration of Will’s life. Over 1,000 people were registered in the race. All of the proceeds went directly to funding another memorial scholarship, this time for education. 

Will’s dad, Chris Kohn, is a biology teacher at PV. He and his wife Meghan, also an employee of the PV district, wanted to make sure that Will would forever be in the hearts and minds of the PV community. “One thing we never want is for him to be forgotten. That is why Meghan and I started the scholarships in his name at PV,” said Kohn. 

Kohn also takes Will’s experiences and turns it into a learning opportunity for his Principles of Biomedical Science class. One of the main units in the class is heart disease. Kohn feels it is important to share Will’s medical story here because 1 in every 100 babies born, is born with a heart defect. 

Many of the students taking Kohn’s Biomedical Science class, like senior Ava Sorgenfrey, appreciate his real-life applications. “I think it was really important that Kohn shared Will’s story because it will more than likely affect at least one of his students in the future,” said Sorgenfrey. 

When sharing the details about Will’s battle with HLHS, he wanted his students to know that Will was a happy kid despite his unfortunate circumstances. “He always had a smile on his face and was always just a happy kid,” said Kohn. 

Will’s impact on the school and PV community is still evident today. Every spring when those two scholarships are awarded, the reason for those scholarships is remembered. It is all due to the bravery and resilience of the strongest kid who ever lived.