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.”