Guest Post by Josh Cohen
What is the definition of hardship? The word hardship means something different to every person. To some, it could mean losing your cell phone or accidentally stepping in a pile of mud while wearing your favorite shoes. To others, a hardship could mean the death of a loved one or the loss of a fortune due to a bad investment.
Phillip Cook, a resident of California, has a precise definition of what it means to face hardships.
The following story about Phillip Cook will have you rethinking your idea of the word. Its story is about overcoming obstacles and adversity; miracles (three to be precise) and perseverance. It’s a “Phillip Cook Story.”
Phillip Cook was not your average human being in his youthful years. He was the definition of an overachieving ambitious athlete who wouldn’t stop until he achieved what he wanted. What was it that Phillip Cook wanted you may ask? To be a World Class Sprinter. Well, that’s precisely what Phillip Cook pushed for in his college years.
From 1988 to 1990, Phillip attended Taft College in Taft, California and studied Criminal Justice. While in school, Phillip competed nonstop on his college’s track and field team. He excelled and won a multitude of awards in the 100, 200, and 400-meter races. There was no stopping Phillip Cook from his dreams of being an Olympian. Well at least, that’s what Phillip Cook thought.
In 1990, Phillip Cook suffered a severe tear in his hamstring. The doctors at the time told Phillip that the healing process would take a couple of years, which meant his dreams of being a track and field athlete were ruined.
After the news was broke to Phillip, he dropped out of school and moved home to Bakersfield, California with his parents. He quickly picked up two jobs, so that he could save up money for a car and to rent an apartment.
Just when Phillip Cook started to get a handle on his life, the catalyst of what was to define Phillip’s future began to, unfortunately, take shape. In July of 1993, Phillip was diagnosed with diabetes—a disease which was believed to have been passed on from his father. On top of diabetes, Phillip struggled with acute hearing problems.
The diabetes wasn’t a real issue until Phillip started experiencing the different chronic stages of diabetes, and instinctively, he knew he was in for a long road of trouble.
Between 1993 and 2006, Phillip struggled to find, hold, and maintain a job due to his hearing problems. It was difficult for him to carve a pathway for his future.
With so much career struggle, Phillip went to the Department of Rehabilitation. It was this group that graciously offered to pay for Phillip’s school if he returned. Phillip gratefully accepted the offer and decided to go to California State University, Northridge to major in Deaf Studies; however, he couldn’t complete his courses due to his extreme physical hardships and ailments.
In December of 2006, Phillip Cook was diagnosed with renal failure caused by his diabetes. The fact that he was working two jobs and had returned to school meant he was too busy to concentrate on eating correctly which quickly exasperated the renal failure.
In April of 2007, Phillip began dealing with life-threatening infections due to his kidney disease. The doctors put him on a heavy dose of antibiotics. Little did the doctors know, the antibiotics caused Phillip Cook to become entirely deaf.
On top of his loss of hearing, Phillip became paralyzed from the waist down forcing him into a wheelchair.
With much determination to complete his unfinished business and goals, Phillip Cook returned to California State University, Northridge with the desire to study Childhood Development. It was a beautiful moment in Phillip’s life when he received the prestigious B.A. degree from the university. Phillip had finally graduated with his bachelor’s degree.
After graduating, Phillip wanted to take his education one step further. He applied to the master’s program at Pacific Oaks College with a focus in Human Development. Phillip was accepted and quickly began his classes.
While attending school and multi-weekly dialysis treatment (due to his kidney problems), Phillip lost sight in his left eye. The vision loss was a direct side-effect from the necessary dialysis treatments that Phillip required.
Phillip Cook had become legally blind, on top of his already diagnosed deafness.
Even though Phillip suffered from blindness, deafness, renal failure, diabetes, and paralyzation; he continued his studies at Pacific Oak College.
Believe it or not, Phillip received his Human Development Master’s Degree in 2013. His first miracle!
In July of 2016, Phillip met the love of his life. The sweet beginnings of new love motivated Phillip to hit the gym and workout, despite his physical ailments.
While working out, Phillip began taking exercise supplements to boost his performance. Unfortunately, the supplements caused Phillip to face life-threatening conditions. Phillip’s foot was amputated.
Early March 2017
As his kidney disease progressed, Phillip knew he would eventually need a kidney transplant; however, he wasn’t prepared for how soon he would need it. In March 2017, doctors informed Phillip he needed a transplant as soon as possible but, unfortunately, it could possibly take two or more years to find a suitable kidney because of the long waiting list.
March 15, 2017
March 15, 2017, would be considered Phillip’s second life miracle. He received a call from Cedar Sinai Hospital with the news that a cadaver kidney—an exact match for Phillip—was available only he needed to be at the hospital within the hour.
With no ability to drive, Phillip thought it would be impossible to make it to the hospital in that time frame. Thankfully, an incredibly remarkable resident of Phillip’s apartment complex agreed to rush him to the hospital.
Phillip went in for surgery and came out a new man. Phillip’s body had accepted the kidney!
Since March 2017
Phillip has always been a man of deep faith. According to him, his third miracle manifested, as a result, of prayers lifted by his parents and loved ones. Phillip Cook regained the ability to walk. No longer paralyzed, he couldn’t believe what had happened!
Despite his many hardships, Phillip fought through two significant ailments in his life: his paralyzation and his kidney failure. While some would think that Phillip’s illnesses constitute a significant issue that would cause pure misery, Phillip remains optimistic about life. He is the definition of positivity and wants to share his story with the world.
Phillip currently lives in Pacoima, CA with the loving support of his family and the West Angeles Church of God in Christ. And, as he continues to overcome daily physical challenges, Phillip is determined to always be the man he was born to be—a faithful man!
To learn more about kidney disease, kidney transplants or how to become a kidney donor, please visit www.kidney.org.
Josh Cohen is a New York City resident who is currently running his own Content Development and SEO Marketing Agency. As a travel blogger, Hollywood actor, and creative producer – Josh is constantly around emerging, unique and beautiful stories from around the world. If you’d like to contact Josh, his information can be found at http://www.yougotjosh.com/