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I'm In A Glass Case of Emotion

Meet R2-KT: The Pink Droid Inspired by a Little Girl Who Fought Cancer

While this story isn’t what you’d call recent, it was so touching that we couldn’t ignore it. It’s also very sad, so consider yourself warned. But while it’s a sad story about a little girl’s fight with brain cancer, it’s a great story about how a bunch of Star Wars fans (some in very high places) made that little girl happy while she didn’t feel very well. It’s also an origin story, and we love those. Ladies and gentlemen, allow us to introduce you to Katie Johnson and the droid whose creation she inspired: R2-KT.

Back in November 2004, six-year-old Katie was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She immediately underwent chemotherapy treatment and bravely dealt with all the side effects. One day, in April 2005, when she and her family took a picture by their church, Katie noticed something about one of the big windows on the side of the building: it looked like R2-D2. And that gave her father, Albin, an idea — “[W]hy not build an R2 to watch over Katie as she slept (just like R2-D2 watched over Padme in Episode II)?”

So, the elder Johnson, who happens to be the founder of the 501st Legion, the world’s biggest official organization for Stormtrooper cosplayers that does charity work around the globe, got in touch with the R2 Builders Club to see about building Katie her very own droid. Albin and his older daughter, Allie, aimed to make it pink and name it after Katie (hence R2-KT).

However, the reality was that Katie wasn’t doing very well and time was running out. But the builders rallied and got R2-KT built and delivered a preliminary — but life-sized — model to the little girl’s house.

Sadly, Katie passed away in her sleep the following August. But she got to hang out with her faithful droid for a little while before having to leave it behind. R2-KT was officially completed on July 8, 2006, just over a year after the start date. Now, R2-KT visits conventions, children’s hospitals, and charity events all over the place.

To find out more about R2-KT’s ongoing adventures (and their current St. Patrick’s Day promotion), visit their official site.

(via Diary of a Death Starlette)

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  • Kath


  • Anna B


  • Will

    Sadly, I recall a certain Star Wars podcast whining when they first saw KT appear on Clone Wars Season One.  They went on a rant about how the scumbags at Lucas were CLEARLY giving Ahsoka her own girly droid sidekick, and the next obvious step was her own pink starfighter.  Needless to say, I stopped listening.

  • Regina Franchi

    R2-KT is one of the droids on the mural outside of Star Tours at Disneyland in California. If you are facing the mural she’s the one in the XWing to the left. 

  • Sarah Willis

    Mary Sue, why do you like making me cry over awesome dads doing things for their daughters? First the single dad learning about superheroes for his daughter (btw I can’t stop reading their sad sweet blog) and now this.

    It’s just so sweet. <insert blubbering)

  • Arabella (Belle)

    One year at San Diego ComicCon 501st sold a toy (original action figure size) licensed & blister packed version of R2-KT  to benefit Make A Wish. It has Katie’s story on the back, which made me cry then. I usually open toys I buy, GASP!  But I have kept my R2-KT in her pack, and people are always so touched when they read Katie’s story on the back. It helps me remind people that silly people like me and my friends who play dress up, can also do great things.

  • Cedric Juchtmans

    I also bought the figure and I also bought her as a companion in the game Clone Wars Adventures. The money earned for both of them was donated to charity. I remember the first time I learned about Katie, when she was still alive. It was so fantastic to see so many members of the 501st and actors of the movies, so supportive for Katie to live. The best I remember was a videoclip with George Lucas and Hayden Christensen. I believe the clip was made in China. And then the tragic news came of her death, which was a sad day for all of us. But Katie will live on through the heart of this droid….