tudents welcome Cole home from the hospital. | Supplied photo
Updated: April 4, 2013 6:04AM
Hickory Creek Middle School seventh-grader Cole Cunningham, of Frankfort, had a surprise welcome waiting for him on his way home from the hospital.
More than 800 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade schoolmates and school staff lined both sides of the street near the school, shouting their support, waving streamers and holding signs as Cunningham and his family rode by.
Over the past year, Hickory Creek students have supported Cunningham as he underwent stem cell treatment for a brain tumor.
The students sent Cole a number of cards and videos, including a video featuring the students singing a version of the Chicago Bears’ fight song with Cole’s name inserted.
They also raised $5,000 for Make-A-Wish Illinois to send Cole and his family on a future vacation.
”Cole’s homecoming event highlighted the student body’s unbelievable character to support a student in need,” Hickory Creek Principal Kevin Suchinski said. “We cannot begin to thank the Cunningham family for allowing the student body and staff to be part of this event. Cole’s phenomenal courage underscores why he is our hero.”
Melissa Cunningham, Cole’s mother, said her family is very grateful for the school’s efforts. She said she believes the students benefit through their support of Cole as well.
“These kids are learning life lessons. They may not know it but they are,” Cunningham said. “They are learning about empathy, having a positive attitude, supporting others, looking past a disease and seeing a person, etc. There are numerous ways that these kids can be seen as role models now or in the future because of these experiences.”