Stephanie was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma on January 12, 2006.

I know that the angels wanted us to find the tumor on that day.  It was a warm January day.  Steph was wearing a tank top outside.  Thanks to the weather and her wardrobe choice, I noticed a rather large lump on her right side of her body at breast level.

A year prior, Steph would complain of back pain.  We took her to our small town hospital.  They examined her and sent us home, blaming the pain as a growth pain associated with her age.

Once I noticed the lump, on that warm January day, and took her to our family practice clinic the concern increased dramatically.  The doctor took a chest x-ray.  She looked at the x-ray and told us that she “wanted us to go to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City the very next day.”  She said that she was worried about rib number 7 which was consumed by this mass.  I was scared and cried.

The next day, at the hospital, the surgeon told us that he wanted to operate on Monday.  Today was Thursday.  Everything was moving so fast!

During Steph’s initial surgery, four ribs were removed and two titanium ribs place vertically were inserted. For the next several months (and years to come), Steph endured everything that most cancer patients go through.

Throughout her many treatments, Steph remained positive and kept that beautiful smile on her face. We were so grateful that she was able to keep us going through all that she had to endure. Steph would endure many different treatments designed to battle her cancer including chemotherapy (which meant losing her hair three times), multiple surgeries, blood platelet transfusions, three different radiation regiments, stem cell transplants…and so on.

Throughout it all, Steph remained strong and continued to maintain her “normal” life of going to school and spending time with family and friends.  Even with three relapses, Steph continued to battle cancer for five years.  She was 8 when she was diagnosed and 14 when she passed away on March 25, 2011.  Stephanie Marie Cook was a very brave and courageous young lady.

Thank you, Stephanie, for our time together and the strength that you shared with all of us!

I will always love you,


Note: A Memorial Fund has been set up at Dani’s Foundation to honor the memory of Stephanie Cook.  All donations received in her memory will benefit current and future Ewing’s Sarcoma research.  If you would like to make a gift in memory of this amazing young lady, please send your tax-deductible donations to Dani’s Foundation and note on your check “in memory of Stephanie Cook”.

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