How a bottle that washed ashore in QLD brought comfort to a grieving family

A bottle which travelled more than 1500km from the NSW coast to South East Queensland containing messages to honour a dead teen has brought two families together.

In July 2018, Alana de Kort, 14, from Sydney, died from Ewing’s sarcoma following an eight-month battle.

Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare type of cancerous tumour which grows in bones or the soft tissue around them.

Alana underwent 15 rounds of chemotherapy and 16 rounds of radiotherapy to fight the cancer before she died, according to a fundraiser on the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation page.

Around the time she died, Alana’s family and friends wrote a number of messages and sealed them in a bottle before throwing them into the water.

Alana de Kort with her mum Jacqui. Source: Facebook/ Collaroy Plateau Netball Club

Alana’s dad Paul de Kort told The Project he never thought he’d see the bottle again after hurling it out to sea.

But it turns out, he was wrong.

In Agnes Water, in Queensland’s Gladstone Region, Bob and Melanie Cooper were enjoying a walk on the beach a couple of months ago.

They found Alana’s bottle and instantly knew it was something “important and meaningful”.

Melanie Cooper gives Alana's mum the bottle containing the family's messages. Source: The Project/ 10 Network

The pair opened the bottle and found one of the notes had a phone number for Alana’s mother Jacqui de Kort.

Ms de Kort said Ms Cooper was in tears as she explained what she found.

Mr Cooper added that the arrival of the bottle helped push back some of the “darkness and sadness” the family had been overwhelmed by since their young daughter’s death, replacing it with “beauty and happiness”.

The Cooper family then drove to Agnes Water to retrieve the bottle and meet their new friends from afar.

Alana's family said the bottle's arrival has given them some closure after her death. Source: The Project/ 10 Network

Alana’s brother Jake said getting the bottle back has given the family some closure.

“It definitely does feel like we got a bit of Alana back,” Justin said.

“Especially considering the journey that the bottle went on and how surreal that experience is.”

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