Three weeks ago, freshman Cole Lowry was the picture of health: young, athletic and hard-working. Now, when he turns to his left, a battle scar is visible; the result of news he received in the first week of October. Fourteen year old Lowry was diagnosed with a brain tumor to the shock of his family and friends.
“I didn’t believe it at first,” freshman, and friend of Lowry, Garret Acker said. “I didn’t really take it in that he actually had a tumor. I just started talking to him and got to feeling that it was really serious.”
“I thought, ‘Uh oh, my life is ruined’, and that I would never be able to play football again, or do anything else I liked,” Lowry said.
Lowry’s symptoms first appeared at his brother’s football game, where he said he was feeling dizzy and had a mini-seizure. Also, before the homecoming dance on October 1st, Lowry wasn’t quite acting himself. He said that his mother told him he had “acted drunk”. His friends also noticed the change.
“He started forgetting who he was talking to,” freshman Claire Koskie said. “He would have a conversation with someone about football, and then his mom would ask him, ‘Cole what were you and Hunter talking about?’ and he was like ‘Hunter? I never talked to Hunter.’”
Cole’s mother, Yvette Lowry, thought he was just dehydrated, Koskie went on to say. She tried to make sure that he drank a lot of water at dinner. But Lowry knew that something else was going on.
“I knew something was wrong with me. I think God was telling me that I had something wrong with me; I had that gut feeling,” he said.
The doctors’ discovery of a brain tumor was staggering, but the realization that it was benign proved a huge relief to the Lowry’s friends and loved ones.
“I was so relieved, and so happy,” freshman Andy Williams said. “I just started crying to hear the good news, just from being so shocked in the beginning.”
“It was a ganglioglioma [tumor], which are 98% benign,” Mrs. Lowry said. “I told [Lowry] that it was a good sign; that we could just get it out and move forward.”
From diagnosis to surgery, and through recovery, Lowry’s friends and family have never left his side. Claire, Garrett, and Andy made multiple visits to the hospital.
“I just kept telling him ‘God’s with you, everything’s gonna turn out alright’,” Koskie said. “Garret [Acker] and I made posters, had people sign it, and took it to the hospital, along with letters people had written and given to me to give him.”
“I had my grandparents put him on their prayer list at their church, and let him know he wasn’t alone and there were a bunch of people rooting for him,” Williams said.
One of the hardest things Lowry mustcurrently deal with is not being able to practice his passion- football. The doctors haven’t given Lowry a specific answer on when he can play football again, but Cole doesn’t think anything can stop him from getting back on the gridiron.
“[The doctor] cut a nickel size out of my skull and put it back with titanium bonds, so when it bonds back together, I don’t see why I can’t play football, and I’m determined to play,” Lowry said.
Coach Harold Huggins described Cole as one of the freshman team’s best, and hardest working players, as well as an undoubted leader.
“[The boys on the team] all have a sticker #9, (Cole’s football number), on the back of their helmet, so that keeps him in there,” Huggins said. “He was on the sideline last week, and we’ll be having him around and still being that leader that he was.”
The whole process that Cole went through included extreme ends of good and bad.
“This was a bad thunderstorm, but after that we had a really sunny day,” Mrs. Lowry said. “At the end of the day, it could’ve been a lot worse than it was, it could’ve been cancer.”
Through this traumatic experience, those close to Cole have grown to new realizations.
“[The experience] has made my faith a lot stronger,” Williams said. “It makes me think about how important life is.”
“I think God put Cole in my life for a reason,” Koskie said. “He is such a great guy and when all of this happened, it gave me a chance to reach out to him and support him. Now when I look at life, I go everyday thinking: love everyone around you, because one day they might need your shoulder and you might need there’s.”