Kris Cole was an athletic high school student. A passion for baseball, he was a three year starter for the Preston Indian’s as a right fielder, utility pitcher, and one of the teams best hitters. But the promising athlete put his college plans on hold to care for his ailing Grandmother. Not long after she died from cancer, Cole began experiencing double vision and excruciating headaches. The diagnosis: Stage IV Glioblastoma, a terminal cancer of the brain. The 19-year-old recently underwent surgery to remove the malignant tumors but will continue to receive painful chemotherapy, radiation, and MRI’s on nearly a daily basis to manage the cancer the best they can. Sarakay Gundersen, a family friend, says Cole is receiving clinical trial treatments at Ogden’s McKay Dee Hospital to fight recurring tumors. He is also on anti-seizure medication to control brain swelling but it has caused physical side-effects. “When you’re on the medicine you feel bad like you wouldn’t believe,” she explains, “the medicine makes you feel hungry all the time when you’re really not and you just eat everything in site.” The active teen, weakened by the cancer treatments, gained 50 pounds within a matter of months. He is so physically exhausted he has no energy to do the things he loves or go out with his friends, Gundersen says. Instead, she and Cole’s aunt, Crystal, are bringing the party to him. Saturday, July 10th, at 6 pm is the benefit concert and social in Kris’s honor. Held at 293 South 2nd East in Weston, Idaho, at the Povey home, local bands ‘Stay for the Summer ‘and ‘The Side Kicks’ will provide the entertainment for the night. Gundersen and Cole have planned a Dutch oven and BBQ dinner, asking only for donations for Kris in return. “The surgery alone costs $50,000 plus the doctor fees,” she says. “If you have insurance you don’t have to worry about that but there is still the cost of driving down to Salt Lake or Ogden every week.” Gundersen feels a kin to the Cole family and Kris’s situation as her husband is recovering from Glioblastoma cancer. Although his was not as serious as Cole’s, she knows first-hand the emotional and physical pain the Cole family is going through. “Not having to worry about expenses is a burden lifted; it’s just a really crummy situation.” According to the American Brain Tumor Association, Glioblastoma is a rare, incurable cancer found most often in men over 60. The cancer affects the astrocytes, the glue-like substance that holds the brain together, causing tumors to spread quickly. Graded on the most aggressive types of cancer cell, Stage IV is the highest and the most serious. The lack of uniformity in the cancerous cells makes Glioblastoma one of the toughest to treat. Some cells will respond to treatments, while others will not. Saturday’s party is a chance for the community to get to know Kris and show their support for him and his family. Everyone is excited about the event, reports Gundersen, especially Kris. All are invited to “come have a good time” with a request that a side dish be brought to share. For more information about the event and how to help Kris and his family, call Crystal Cole at (208) 851-1792.
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