Minden rallies around #TeamCole

Six-year-old Cole Benson is hugged by his family during a prayer at Calvary Baptist Church this morning. He is on his way to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis as he battles a rare form of cancer.

By Josh Beavers

Three decades ago, Field of Dreams taught us “if you build it, they will come.”

Well, on this sunny summer Sunday morning, Minden once again proved that “if you need us, we will come.”

Cole Benson is six years old. He suffers from a rare form of T Cell Lymphoma. Cancer. That dirty, dirty word that has separated friends and families from one another far too often in our community. Little Cole, an energetic and always smiling young man, is on his way to Memphis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where he will spend three months fighting the fight that no child should ever have to.

And as we have illustrated time and time again, Minden refuses to let our children and their families venture into that uncertain time alone. We turned out and lined Germantown Road as Cole left town with a police escort and aboard a firetruck. Signs of encouragement were all about as Minden proved it cares about its own.

A little more than 24 hours after a community Prayer in the Park, where prayers were spoken for a unified community that remembers its shared humanity, Minden showed just how much it cares about its own, its most vulnerable, its young people, its innocent and its children. Mr. Wes Barnette spoke on Saturday morning at our community prayer in the park about helping us remember our shared love for our home. It was fitting that the next day, Minden illustrated that we are united by common bonds and shared values. Truly, there is more to unite us than to divide us.

Cole’s momma, Ashley, posted on Facebook this week, “they [doctors] believe Cole was born with some ectopic thymus tissue (small pieces of thymus in the wrong spot, in this case his chest). This is often not a problem, but in Cole’s case his ectopic tissue began to grow larger and create some bad T cells that continued to replicate.”

She continued: “Getting Cole’s thymic tumor out was a huge step, but it’s not the last step.”

That last sentence means that Cole is likely in for the long haul. He begins chemotherapy on Monday. After his three months in Memphis, he will come home to do most of his remaining treatment in Shreveport. The total estimated treatment time is two and a half years.

“Cole is still in great spirits, feeling pretty good, and he’s happy to hear that they have a way to get ‘all the bad T cells out of my body’,” Ashley said on Facebook. “Thank you again for all of the encouragement, support, and prayers. We would be so grateful for any continued prayers as we begin the long journey of helping Cole kick cancer.”

Minden proved it will do whatever it takes to encourage Cole and all of our community members who suffer from this terrible illness. And that’s the way our community should be. Yes, we have a lot that divides us. Yes, we have a lot that makes us angry with one another. And yes, we have a lot of different opinions on what is best as we move forward. But when you consider our shared humanity and how we always rally around one another, no matter religion, color, or political party, it’s easy to see Minden will always be there when one of our own is in need.

As Kevin Costner told us “if you build it, they will come.”

In Minden, if you need us, we will come.