‘Spitfire’ Kaisy Knott left behind a strong legacy

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by: Heather Mongilio

Kaisy Knott loved The Great Frederick Fair.

The 13-year-old had been showing and judging livestock since she was 6 years old. Just a few weeks ago, she was in Minnesota competing. But this year, it was Kaisy’s sister Aubry who showed the hog and steer her younger sister had raised.

Kaisy died on Sept. 10 after a 21-month battle with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer with nearly a zero percent survival rate, a week shy of the fair she loved so much.

“She was a spitfire,” her mother Melany Knott said. “She thought it. She said it. She didn’t care who it hurt. She didn’t care who it made happy. Her opinion was the only opinion. She moved past it after she said it, she never held a grudge. And her most sacred thing was her sisters. She loved her sisters.”

Kaisy was the baby of a four girl family, all who participated in the 4-H Club. Kaisy started judging livestock when she was 6, even though children typically start at 8, Knott said.

“She was very competitive. She had her eyes for cattle. There is a talent for it,” Knott said.

Kaisy’s former judging coach Jim Miller said that Kaisy was a “bright light.” While her sisters all did 4-H club, Kaisy was the talkative one. Three years ago the Knott family was named “Family of the Year” in part because of Kaisy, who was more known by her nickname KK.

But it wasn’t just Miller. Everybody loved her, he said. The Libertytown fire hall, where Kaisy’s viewing was held, was packed with people coming to share their condolences, he said.

“They all thought the world of her. She would help everybody,” he said.

Miller said he remembers a time when Kaisy showed a friend’s goat because he was injured. Kaisy had never shown goats before, but she stepped up to do it to help out her friend.

That was right before she was diagnosed with cancer, he said.

But the funniest memory he has of Kaisy actually involved football, albeit football at The Great Frederick Fair.

Miller said his son was playing football with other kids, including Kaisy, when Miller told the son they had to walk the cows so they could get going. There came Kaisy, running up to him to say that his son couldn’t walk the cows because the football team needed him.

“It was just so funny to see a little girl come running down, no shoes on wanting me to make sure we put that cow away because they needed [my son] for football. That was just one of the things that over the years stuck out that she did,” Miller said.

Kaisy was honest, he said. If a steer wasn’t good that year, she said it. And she was very competitive, but she didn’t let the competition get in the way of enjoying it.

Miller could see the strong relationships Kaisy had with her sister, her mother and her father, David.

“That little girl touched a lot of people’s hearts,” Miller said.

Kaisy pushed her mother to do things she never thought she would do. She went on a rollercoaster because of Kaisy. She flew on a plane for the first time to take Kaisy to Mexico, where she was receiving treatments for DIPG.

And in death, Kaisy pushed her mother. Knott braided Kaisy’s hair after she died because that’s how Kaisy would have wanted it.

Kaisy’s sisters have created a memorial fund for her, and the animals they sold at the fair went toward it.

“I have good, loyal kids. And I think that’s everybody’s dream, to have those kids,” Knott said.

Knott is left with the lessons Kaisy taught her. She pushed her mother to talk to other fair families, to open up. Knott said Kaisy taught her that Knott could do anything.

“Just how to be humble. She was such a humble person. She was knowledgeable beyond her years,” she said.

It was always an adventure when she was with Kaisy, and Knott said she couldn’t pick one memory because everything she did with Kaisy was a memory.

“We made so many. She made so many for us,” Knott said.

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