Classmates surprise Noah Cook on 16th birthday
Noah Cook of Leachville received the surprise of his life last Saturday as he drove into the parking lot at Monette First Baptist Church to see more than 150 of his classmates and friends had gathered to throw him a 16th birthday party.
The party was hosted by Tanya Varner, Noah's mother Andrea Crawford, and Noah's friends.
"It was hard to keep the surprise birthday party a secret," Varner said. "We announced plans for the party by word of mouth, phone calls and private Facebook messages, encouraging everyone to keep it a secret."
"Noah was almost overwhelmed when we rounded the corner at the church and saw all those people standing outside in front of the Family Life Center, holding up that big banner 'Happy 16th birthday Noah'," Noah's mother Andrea said. "He was concerned about his ANC count being low. I assured him we had talked to his doctor and had been told it was O.K. He thought he was going out to eat with us in Jonesboro and was sure caught off guard by the big surprise. His grandfather (Randall Ryan) pushed Noah's wheelchair up to the car door to transport him inside the building. Classmates were shooting silly string and shouting his name as we arrived. It was a big celebration from start to finish."
Most of those in attendance were wearing green tee shirts that read "Hey Jack, heard it was your birthday, and that makes me happy, happy, happy." The shirts were printed by Steve Lancaster, and $5 from the purchase of each shirt was donated to Noah as a gift.
Noah is the son of Tommy and Andrea Crawford and B.J. Cook. He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on April 6 last year and has undergone treatment at St. Jude and LeBonheur hospitals in Memphis. He received a bone marrow transplant on July 20, 2012.
"Noah actually celebrates two birthdays this month, one on July 2, the day he was born, and one for the year anniversary from his transplant, on July 20," Andrea said. "We have a lot to be thankful for. He had a great time at his birthday party and was amazed at how many people came together for the event. This meant so much to him. It made him feel so special."
Banners adorned the FLC wishing Noah a happy birthday. Several tables of food were placed at different stations throughout the room. One table had fruits and juices and a carved watermelon with his name on it. One table had 20 varieties of edible medicines, representing the 20 different pills he has to take three times each day. One table had a low-bacteria cake that he could eat, and another donated by Cakes for Cancer. Snacks and treats of every variety filled the tables.
MyKayla Bolster presented Noah with a popcorn can full of soda tabs that she had saved to donate to St. Jude and money she had raised by sale of her toys.
Many acts of kindness were shown by classmates and friends throughout the day, as people fought back the urge to hug him.
Mayor Chub Qualls proclaimed Saturday, July 13, as "Noah Cook Day in Monette," and presented Noah with a framed certificate commemorating the honor.
Noah has a large support group. Along with his parents he has a sister, Bailey Crawford, and three brothers Nathan, Ryan and Carson Cook, along with grandparents Randall Ryan, Cherri and Rick Martin, Linda and Chub Qualls, Flora and Johnny Thomas, Joann and Gerald Carmichael and Bonnie and Robert Hall.