Mom plants a big kiss on Cole Cook’s cheek after his induction at Southern Hills Career and Technical Center on April 5. Cole’s proud parents are Laura and Carey Cook. Cole is headed for Bowling Green University in August.
Cole Cook, a senior at Southern Hills Career and Technical Center, has just been inducted into the National Technical Honor Society and has been accepted into Bowling Green State University, where he plans on studying construction management.
Under different circumstances that would be a normal event to happen in a young man’s life. But Cole’s life has been anything but normal.
At the age of only six months, Cole and his mother Laura were shopping at a local grocery store when Cole had a seizure and stopped breathing.
“That seizure was the first of several times that, that happened to Cole,” said his mother Laura, “Cole’s dad, Carey, and I knew then that our precious baby had a serious health problem.
“We got Cole to Children’s Medical Center in Dayton where he underwent extensive testing. We were told that Cole had lesions on his brain and that if surgery were performed to remove the lesions, he would end up being retarded.”
Laura went on to say that Cole was then referred to Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati in September of 1999 to undergo his first brain surgery after being diagnosed with High-Grade Astrocytoma. His parents were told that their son would never walk, talk or do anything a normal child would be able to do.
“Following that long seven-hour brain surgery to remove a small portion of Cole’s left temporal lobe,” Laura said, “Our precious little boy had to undergo chemotherapy and then another 9-hour surgery to remove over half of his remaining left temporal lobe. Even when he survived all that, we were told we could lose him at any time.”
But Cole continued to prove the doctors wrong and underwent two more brain surgeries and four C-Line surgeries. He also endured many more intensive chemotherapy treatments.
“Cole beat those odds and at the tender age of only 7 months,” Laura said. “Like he always has, he came out a winner.
Cole was doing much better, but then at the age of 2 years, the cancer was back and he was once again classified as terminal and scheduled for yet another surgery which lasted 12 hours. The family was told once again that even if Cole were to survive the surgery, he would be severely physically and mentally handicapped.
“I believe that God knew differently all along, and had a hand in Cole’s quick recovery,” Laura said. “The very next day, our son was sitting up, all swollen and bandaged up, black and blue saying “mum, mum” when he saw his daddy come through the door.
“From that point on all the doctors and nurses called Cole, ‘little miracle boy.
“All total, Cole has undergone 19 brain surgeries, three years of chemotherapy and seven weeks of radiation. And through it all, he has been the bravest young man I have ever known.”
Cole, now 18, has been employed at the Mt. Orab Kroger store for almost two years as a cashier.
He is a senior at Southern Hills Career and Technical Center (Whiteoak High School) and has a GPA of 3.8.
“I feel as if God had a hand in my life since the very beginning,” Cole said. “I have been cancer free for over four years now and I can hardly wait to graduate in 30 days, and begin my studies at Bowling Green. I feel blessed, I feel hopeful and I look forward to the rest of my life…it’s just beginning.
“I work hard at everything I do, and I hope to get my degree in construction management some day. I want to learn everything about the field and hope to specialize in framing.”
Cole has also received the Rising Sun Award, the Shooting Star Award and the Hopewell Outstanding Student Award.
“Our Cole has never stopped fighting, all these years,” Laura said. “And not only has he succeeded in everything he’s taken on, he has soared.”