Curry student getting surprise trip to see mother

Posted 9/9/18

A Curry teenager with cystic fibrosis is getting a surprise trip to see her mother in Lincoln, Nebraska, thanks to the generosity of an organization.Margaret Miller of Pinedale Drive, outside of …

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Curry student getting surprise trip to see mother


A Curry teenager with cystic fibrosis is getting a surprise trip to see her mother in Lincoln, Nebraska, thanks to the generosity of an organization.

Margaret Miller of Pinedale Drive, outside of Jasper, said her granddaughter, Courtney Strout, 16, is a junior at Curry High School and is active in the color guard for the school's band. 

"This disease affects the pancreas, the lungs and the heart," and was diagnosed in Courtney when she was 17 months old, Miller said. "She's done real well with it. I've taken her to the doctors for the past 12 years," which is how long she has lived with her and her husband, Jessie Allen Miller. 

"I think she's done extremely well considering most children don't get over this as easy as she has. I've kept her away from people who smoke," she said. "That right there would really put a damper on her lungs if she stayed in a room with second-hand smoke. I make sure she has a high protein diet that keeps muscle fiber up on her body. She is on a high carb diet, too." 

Courtney also takes Creon enzimes to help absorb nutrients from food, and has to have a check up at Children's of Alabama in Birmingham every three months, Miller said. 

The Kids Wish Network has decided to grant the Millers, Courtney and her brother, Phillip Johnson, plane tickets to see Courtney's and Phillip's mother, Christina Russell, who lives in Lincoln. Courtney only sees her mother once a year, but doesn't know it is coming this year. 

Courtney's father, James Strout, lives in Sipsey and gets to see him often, Miller said, noting she is the maternal grandmother. The paternal grandparents are Conway and Ingrid Strout of Jasper. 

The reveal is scheduled to be today, unless Courtney gets hot on the trail, and then it may come sooner. Phillip, 10, who attends Curry Middle as a fifth-grader, will also be surprised with the news. 

"She don't know what's coming until I tell her," Miller said. "I've tried to throw little hints here and little hints there." She gives clues like asking what she would do if they did get to see her quickly. 

"I'd love that," she quoted Courtney as saying. "Can we get a little bit more time other than three or four days?" 

The family will leave on a plane Tuesday and will fly back Saturday, Miller said. The group was going to give gas money, but Miller noted it is a 14-16 hour drive that, while lovely to see, is quite long, especially when you encounter wrecks that tie up traffic. The plane rides will give the family more time to be together. 

Principals in Curry also know about the trip. "I've got all the bases covered," she said. 

Russell said by text Friday, "My daughter could have wished for anything else in the world, but she chose to want to spend time with me. I know that I have made mistakes in my life, but my daughter is the perfect example of one way that I went right. She is everything that I wasn't as a teen and I couldn't be prouder of this young lady.

"I am looking forward to her visit with me soon and feel very blessed to be a part of the opportunity she has been given." 

Kids Wish Network (, based in Holiday, Florida, said on its website it "has been making dreams come true for hundreds of thousands of children since 1997. We are dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children who are experiencing life-altering situations."