Family remembers little boy with big personality

Eric McCarthy
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Kameron Cooke as a five year-old, helping his father and uncle work a barclam bed.

SPRINGFIELD WEST – The family of a six-year-old Springfield West boy who died suddenly in Halifax on Sunday tell of a loving, energetic little boy.

Kory and Krista Cooke described their nephew, Kameron Elwood Cooke, to the Journal Pioneer on behalf of the Cooke and Handrahan families.

Saturday started out like any other day for the family until Kameron was rushed to Western Hospital and Prince County Hospital before being airlifted to the IWK Hospital.

Contrary to reports that started soon after Kameron was hospitalized, Kory emphasized his nephew’s death was in no way related to hockey or a hockey injury. Doctors discovered he had a malformation of blood vessels in the brain, a complication similar to a brain aneurysm. It was something he was born with but it went undetected.

“There was nothing that could have prevented his death and there was no way of predicting this would happen,” said his uncle.

He extended the family’s thanks to the three hospitals, Island EMS and the Air Flight team for doing everything they could to care for Kameron.

“Kameron’s love for life will live on through the children he has saved by organ donation,” Kory added.

Kameron was born Sept. 26, 2006, the first child for Kyle and Brittanie (Handrahan) Cooke, a boy with big blue eyes, blond hair and a contagious smile and laugh.

The family shares a memory of a day Kameron went out fishing with his father Kyle and uncle, Kory, last summer.

While Kyle and Kory were having their lunch, they looked out to find him hard at work on the clam deck, shoveling stuff overboard.

“He was five years old and thought he was 25,” said Krista Cooke, relating Kyle’s description of Kameron’s involvement.

Kory also recalls the outing.

“He put on some gloves and got to work. He tried to do every job possible and help out as much as he could.”

Big K and Mini, as he was sometimes called, loved being with his father and uncle around the fishing gear, and they would often joke that they were “two and a half men.”

When he wasn’t with his mom and dad, one could be sure to find Kameron with his Grammy and Pepe (Priscilla and Gary Handrahan); Papa and Nanny (Barry and Pam Cooke); his great-Nanny and Papa (Shirley and Elwood Cooke); or his uncle and aunt, Kory and Krista Cooke. He would always manage to find his way home to be with Mom and Dad for bedtime. He was close to all his family and, as an only child, cousins were like brothers and sisters to him.

He was thrilled to find out recently that he was going to be getting a baby brother, and even had some creative names picked out.

“He was a six-year-old who you could have a grown-up conversation with,” Krista said, recalling how he loved to give compliments, such as commenting on how good someone’s hair looked, or how they had a nice shirt.

He made his first trip to the rink at two weeks of age and ever since then never wanted to leave. He loved hockey. He was always the first to throw his hands in the air when a team member scored. The Pittsburgh Penguins was his favourite NHL team; Sidney Crosby his favourite player.

He learned to swim a year ago and loved to be in the pool on family vacations. He loved travel, video games, school and wrestling. He knew the entrance songs of all the WWE wrestlers, knew their signature moves and had tons of wrestling figurines. He enjoyed watching WWE with his dad and uncle.

A Grade 1 French Immersion student at Bloomfield Elementary, he was starting to speak French more and more around family who were amazed by how much he had learned in a year and a half of schooling. He had many friends at school and he and his best friend, Riley Gallant, were in school and hockey together, and loved going to each other’s homes.

A creative child with stories and fibs, he always had something to say. Stubborn and strong-willed, he never wanted to leave wherever he was, whether at home, the beach or from the camper or rink.

Since Kameron’s death the family has been deeply touched by the outpouring of support received from people all over Prince Edward Island, and they wanted to extend their appreciation for that support.

Visiting hours at Ferguson’s Funeral Home, O’Leary, are on Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. The funeral will be held in the Funeral Chapel Thursday at 11 a.m.

“He had so many family and friends who loved him and who he loved to be with,” shared Krista. “He was an amazing child and everyone who knew him loved him to the moon and back. He will never be forgotten.”

Organizations: Journal Pioneer, Western Hospital, Prince County Hospital IWK Hospital Pittsburgh Penguins Grade 1 French Immersion

Geographic location: Springfield West, Halifax, Prince Edward Island

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  • Jimmy and Dawn Reilly
    January 16, 2013 - 20:54

    What a beautiful tribute to such an awesome little man. Our words cannot express how deep we sympathize with the Cooke family. We have often referred to Kameron as his Dad's "mini me" and while watching the O'Leary senior hockey we would see Kameron cheering on his Dad and Uncle Kory. God bless each one of you, may you find some peace in knowing that your loved one is safe in God's arms watching over you. Our prayers and thoughts will continue to be with you.

  • Lisa Silva
    January 16, 2013 - 19:52

    It breaks my heart to know the deep hurt all who love him are feeling. I can only hope that you can find some comfort in the memories you have of this precious little boy.

  • Cathy Gauthier
    January 16, 2013 - 14:05

    What an awesome story and a sweet picture. It looks like he was having a lot of fun. This tragedy is heartbreaking Take comfort in the amazing memories you have of your son. Take care

  • Sandra Holland
    January 16, 2013 - 13:46

    My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time... your little angel will always be watching over you, may his little soul R.I.P

  • corinna
    January 16, 2013 - 12:59

    dear brittanie,kyle and families,lisa before me has said it best,we are only given them for a little while,to love them and watch them grow,and hearing everything about kameron,you have done an awesome job,raising him to be who he was.he will be your hope and your strenght,as you remember his smile and his personality.my thoughts and prayers go out to all of you ,love always corinnna

  • Margaret Gallant
    January 16, 2013 - 12:39

    Sincere sympathy to Kameron's family, what a terrible loss for you all. This story is a beautiful tribute to a precious little angel.

  • Sheila Tremblay
    January 16, 2013 - 10:48

    What a beautiful story for this precious little boy who seemed to lighten up everyone around him. He would have been a joy to know!!! I know the family and words cannot be expressed to them how sorry I am. I can't imagine going through this and no one knows until you are put in that situation. God bless all of you right now and prayer of strength are sent your way. Take care.

  • Lisa
    January 16, 2013 - 08:36

    My sympathies to his family. I'll Lend You A Child by Edgar Guest "I'll lend you for a little time a child of mine," He said. For you to love - while he lives And mourn for when he's dead. It may be six or seven years Or twenty-two or three, But will you, till I call him back, Take care or him for Me? He'll bring his smiles to gladden you, And should this stay be brief You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief. I cannot promise he will stay, Since all from earth return, But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn. I've looked this world over In search for teachers true, And from the throngs that crowd Life's lanes, I have selected you. Now will you give him all your love, Nor count the labor vain, Nor hate Me when I come to call to Take him back again?" I fancied that I heard then say, "Dear Lord, Thy will be done, For all the joy Thy child shall bring, The risk of grief we'll run. We'll shelter him with tenderness, We'll love him while we may, And for the happiness we've known Forever grateful stay. But should the angels call for him Much sooner than we've planned, We'll brave the bitter grief that come And try to understand."

  • Junior Locke
    January 16, 2013 - 07:42

    I am sad to hear of this sudden loss.Though i have not been living in P.E.I. for quite a few years.I do know of some family members.I had recently seen a video of this young lad playing drums.This touched me a lot,as i am a drummer.My whole hearted thoughts and prayers are with all.I have shared the video i mentioned on face book,simply asking to validate Kameron.

  • Shawn
    January 16, 2013 - 06:36

    Thoughts and prayers go out to Kyle and Brittanie and the rest of the Cooke family. Kameron's legacy will live on forever in the hearts of the children he has helped. Take care, Shawn

  • Billy Judy and Glenn Fraser
    January 15, 2013 - 21:48

    Our hearts are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of your beautiful little boy. Praying for you all at this sad time..

  • Debbie
    January 15, 2013 - 20:26

    What a beautiful article Eric McCarthy !!! Sending my heartfelt Condolences to his famiy and friends...May you Rest in Peace Kameron.

  • Carla
    January 15, 2013 - 19:37

    Thoughts & Prayers to Kyle, Brittanie and families.. Everyone is deeply saddened by this... He was such an adorable boy with an amazing smile :) He touched the lives of sooo many... I hope you will find the strength to get through this most difficult time. ♥♥♥♥