Sometimes we hear stories about people doing amazing things and it gets us a little inspired. Sometimes we hear stories about people overcoming obstacles or beating the odds and that gets us a little inspired. And sometimes, you get placed in the presence of people that are doing those amazing things while overcoming those obstacles, and without any thought of not being just "what they do". It's being in the presence of those people where you can be inspired to your inner core! That's how my family and I feel about the Vukich Family, and more specifically, Mr. Cole Vukich!
We were lucky to meet the Vukich family through the University Place youth sports program when Cole and his twin brother Case were placed on the Tee-Ball team I coached the spring before the kids started school together. I'd heard about Cole and the cancer fight he'd been dealing with since the age of two. His story had struck a chord with me because I'd lost my Dad to a similar type of cancer in 1994. Knowing what my Dad went through in the last years of his life made Cole's story as a kid even more amazing.
The first day of practice I went out there knowing Cole was on the team but we'd yet had opportunity to meet. I scanned the group of typical rambuncious four year olds in front of me looking for the "kid with cancer" but couldn't find him. "Is he here?" I thought as I asked the kids to tell me their names. As we went down the list I heard this rather outgoing little guy say "Cole" when asked his name. I thought no way is this the kid I'd heard about but sure enough, that kiddo, different from nobody standing there, was him. It was then that I realized I was in the presence of something a little different.
If you didn't know already, you flat out couldn't walk up to my team and pick out the "kid with cancer". You know why? It's because we don't have a kid with cancer. We have Cole, and he just happens to be the kid kicking Leukemia's butt! That surely doesn't define him though. He's as crazy, or crazier than any kid I know. He's as happy, or happier than any kid I know. And he's just as athletic as any kid I know. Hearing about what he deals with on a daily basis no doubt makes him "the toughest kid I know". I tell him all the time he's the toughest kid I know, and the smile he gives back is enough to inspire me like nothing I've ever been around.
The stories over the last couple years are pretty awesome and the stories yet to come are sure to be even better. The next time we cross paths just ask and I'll share a couple with you. In the meantime, take a look at this article from the Tacoma News Tribune's front page. It talks about his Dad doing the Firefighter's Stair Climb to raise money for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. That's a great event and I highly recommend you donate to the cause. However, the real story here is one of inspiration and how one kid's blind toughness can inspire others to do everything they can to be their best all the time. Thanks Cole Vukich, and the Vukich family. It's a true honor to have your presence in our lives.
Click here for the News Tribune article: http://goo.gl/0We1d
Click here to donate to the Firefighter's Stair Climb event: http://goo.gl/27q09