Incredible story of how a message in a bottle travelled 1,500km along the Australian coast before its discovery brought closure to parents grieving the death of their 14-year-old daughter
- Alana de Kort’s family threw a bottle in the ocean after she died from cancer
- The sealed bottle contained goodbye messages from her family and friends
- More than a year later, the bottle washed up 1,500km north on a beach in QLD
- A couple found the bottle, which contained Alana’s mother’s phone number
- The two families recently met up to retrieve the bottle, and are now good friends
A bottle containing goodbye messages to a teenage girl who died of cancer has made its way more than 1,500km north along the coast, bringing unexpected closure to her grieving family.
Alana de Kort’s eight-month battle with Ewing’s sarcoma came to an end in July last year following 15 rounds of chemotherapy and 16 rounds of radiotherapy.
For a touching send-off, the 14-year-old’s family and friends decided to farewell her by throwing the bottle filled with messages into the ocean off Sydney’s coast.
‘I remember it was the most beautiful, sunny morning, and I remember when the boys through it into the water they turned around and waved,’ Alana’s mother Jacqui de Kort told The Project.
‘We wished the bottle well on it’s journey and we’d see what happens.’
Alana de Kort’s eight month battle with Ewing’s sarcoma came to an end in July last year following 15 rounds of chemotherapy and 16 rounds of radiotherapy
The de Kort family threw a bottle in the ocean containing dozens of farewell messages to their daughter who died of cancer last year
The de Kort family never thought they’d see the bottle again, but more than a year later, the bottle washed up more than 1,500km away at Agnes Water in Queensland’s Gladstone region.
Bob and Melanie Cooper had decided to go for a walk on the beach a couple of months ago, when they spotted the small blue bottle in the sand.
After excitedly rushing home with the bottle, the couple opened it and read the 30 or so messages inside.
‘That’s when we started getting pretty chocked up and thinking “wow this is something important and meaningful”,’ Ms Cooper told The Project.
Ms Cooper wasted no time in contacting the de Kort family, who had left their phone number inside the bottle.
‘She started to cry and said ”my name is Melanie and I just found your bottle”,’ an emotional Ms de Kort remembered.
Paul de Kort was equally as moved by the arrival of the bottle.
‘The darkness and sadness kind of got pushed back a bit, and a bit of happiness and beauty comes back in,’ he said.
The sealed bottle contained dozens of goodbye messages from Alana’s family and friends
The Coopers contacted the de Korts, who left their phone number in the bottle. The two families recently met in person for the first time in an emotional get-together
The two families recently met in person for the first time in an emotional get-together, after forging a strong long-distance friendship over the last few months.
‘She’s been emotional when I’ve been emotional, and empathetic to what we’re going through,’ Ms de Kort said.
‘She’s just a lovely friend from afar and I’m really excited to meet her.’
After being reunited with the bottle, Alana’s brother Jake said it felt like his family now has some closure.
‘It definitely does feel like we got a bit of Alana back,’ he said.
Ms de Kort said she believes the bottle making its way to the Coopers was a ‘special coincidence’ from Alana.
‘We believe (it was) a message from her. Melanie’s middle name is Alana, and she spells Alana the same way that Alana did,’ she said.
‘Wherever she is she is probably rubbing her hands together saying “well that worked out better than I expected” in that it was such a good thing for everybody.’
The Coopers also see their finding of the bottle as serendipitous.
‘It was meant to be, of us choosing that day to go for a walk down at that beach, it could have been anyone but it was us,’ Ms Cooper said.
‘Hopefully we will be in contact with them for a very long time.’
The families believe the bottle making its way to the Coopers was a ‘special coincidence’ from Alana