Cole Matthew Winnefeld was born on December 15, 2003, a seemingly healthy baby boy, and a beloved little brother to us—his parents and his big sister, Lauren.
He loved all things boy: Hot Wheels, Thomas the Train and Lego, and he went through the first five years of his life with little fanfare.
In April 2009, during a family vacation, Cole fell off of a bunk bed and, we thought, injured his back or hip. When we returned home, he was limping, having trouble sleeping and not eating well. We took him to the pediatrician only to be sent home.
The limping continued, accompanied by vomiting and waking up in the night. A second doctor’s visit included an x-ray and CT scan, which revealed a softball-size tumor around his adrenal gland.
Cole was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma. It also involved the bone marrow and lesions in multiple bones throughout his body.
He began the fight of his life, battling multiple rounds of high dose chemotherapy, multiple complex surgeries and radiation. His neuroblastoma, it turned out, was chronic, and many experimental treatments followed, including a painful mouse antibody therapy, novel radiation and multiple phase I therapies.
His fight ended on July 29, 2015, but his family continues to fight in his honor and memory.
Please help us in the fight against neuroblastoma.