Seven-year-old Cole St. Clair of Dr. Phillips is an ordinary youngster fighting an unordinary illness. He has diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a rare, inoperable pediatric brain tumor found in the brainstem.
The part of the brain affected controls basic functions like breathing and swallowing. DIPG affects approximately 300 children each year and has a five-year survival rate of less than 1 percent. It is most common in elementary school-aged children but can affect children of any age.
Cole travels to Maryland monthly for treatments as he bravely combats the disease. Last month, family and friends arranged a special surprise during his homecoming. A limousine picked Cole up from the airport and dropped him off at his home, where a group of family, friends and his favorite super heroes were waiting to welcome him with balloons and banners with words of encouragement. Surprises like this one are his family’s way of building memories with him right now.
Cole’s supporters are currently running a social media campaign in the hopes of having Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., send well wishes via video message to his biggest fan.