Luke Cook, the youth who suffered from a series of seizures and health problems as a child, had another life-threatening brain surgery on May 31, leaving the 12-year-old’s family in a financial …
Luke Cook, the youth who suffered from a series of seizures and health problems as a child, had another life-threatening brain surgery on May 31, leaving the 12-year-old’s family in a financial dilemma. They need help with the cost of a specially equipped handicapped-accessible van being used to get him to rehab therapy and doctor appointments.
The prayers of the community are appreciated, according to Luke’s mother, Jodi Frazier Cofer, a teacher at Ocoee Middle School.
“I know prayers have gotten Luke this far and prayers will continue to help him through this next phase,” said Jodi.
“Luke has struggled with numerous seizures daily for eight years now. Some days were better than others, but over the years he could have 45 seizures a day. With medicine he was still having 10 to 20 seizures a day at times. The surgery was a success and Luke has been seizure free since May 31, but he has regressed physically. Luke had to go back to CHOA in their rehab program and was in the hospital for a total of six weeks.
“He is now wheelchair bound because he can no longer walk or move around. He is beginning therapy soon and has had to go on homebound because he can no longer attend school at this time.
“Luke has required a special needs van and since the family is large, we have required a larger than normal van. We are blessed to have Luke. We will do whatever we can to make his life as easy as possible. Luke has been through so much in his 12 years, but through it all God has been faithful. We have seen the community love Luke and want to help us take care of him. As always it is my honor and privilege to be Luke’s mom.”
Living a healthy life has been challenging for Luke, a student at Lake Forest Middle School in a special education CDC class. As an infant he suffered a seizure when he was only 2 weeks old and it was discovered he had blood on the brain. An MRI revealed a mal-formed vein in his brain.
Doctors at T.C. Thompson Childrens Hospital in Chattanooga gave him a 50-50 chance of survival at that time. Two weeks later doctors placed a narrow piece of tubing, called a shunt, in his brain with the hope of correcting the problem. They also prescribed medicine to prevent seizures. It worked for several months.
Then two days after his second birthday, the toddler had another seizure. He was airlifted back to T.C. Thompson Childrens Hospital. Doctors discovered the cause of the seizure was the result of a malfunction of a shunt, which they corrected.
Two years later, on May 24, 2009, when Luke was 4, there was another medical emergency. The toddler suffered yet another seizure and was rushed to T.C. Thompson, where doctors found his shunt was blocked by bone. An MRI showed some damage to the right side of his brain. Doctors fixed the problem, but by the end of the week the shunt was not functioning properly.
Luke’s brain shut down and he was placed on a ventilator. The surgeons, Dr. Peter Boehm and Dr. Patrick Keegan, told the family Luke had only a 1 percent chance of lasting through the night. The surgeons had to operate.
Luke’s mother said, “They told us they believed the pressure on his brain would jump to 50 or 60 after the surgery — normal pressure is 1 to 20.”
If Luke’s pressure rose to 50 or 60, the doctors would have to decide on whether or not to take him off the ventilator. Incredibly, Luke’s brain pressure did not rise over 20, according to his mother. Doctors were amazed.
Days later they took him off the ventilator to witness Luke breathing on his own.
Jodi said many people had been praying for her son and she believes the power of prayer made the difference.
The six children, two adult family was in need of a large special needs van to accommodate everyone when traveling to doctors appointments in Chattanooga and Knoxville, according to Jodi.
Although he is currently having to relearn some of his motor skills, Luke continues to make excellent progress after surgery, but the financial burden placed on the family to cover the cost of the van is said to be an added financial stress.
If anyone is interested in helping to cover the cost of a van, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/a-van-for-luke.
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