We all know that life can sometimes knock you down. Physically and emotionally, but it's getting back up that counts. And one little girl from Appleton Little League softball is here to make us all realize that any excuse we have to not get back up and live life to fullest is invalid.
Carson Cole is an 8-year-old who loves the game of softball.
"When there are high balls, I like to catch them. I like batting and stuff." And she says she's pretty good at batting.
She's a happy and energetic little girl despite her many medical issues, and she'll be the first to tell you she knows her hair doesn't look the same as other girls.
"I'm having head surgery," she explains, "and this is my third head surgery." She says it needs to be cut short -- "kinda bald-ish" -- for surgery.
Carson was born prematurely and diagnosed with craniosynotosis. It's a birth defect in which joints between the bones of a baby's skull close prematurely before their brain is fully formed.
She's had two full reconstructions of her head, and she's scheduled to have a third in August.
"What they do," mom Cindy Cole explains, "is they take the top of the skull and they cut it in two pieces like a puzzle, and then they put it back together with plates and screws that are dissolvable. It was very scary to hand your 8-month-old over to a surgeon and know they're gonna take the skull off. It's pretty scary."
Carson's father, Matthew Cole, adds, "To have that feeling of being completely helpless as a parent, here you are, you're the person in charge, you're the person to come to when things are wrong, and you make things better and you can't."
Carson admits she hates having surgery. Both previous procedures were successful, but with another one coming up, there's still some fear. But one of the times things feel better for Carson is when she's on the field.
"It all kinda goes away" on the field, Carson says.
"Each time I see her go up to bat, I nearly start crying because it's her being a normal kid," her dad said. "There's no doctors, there's no scrubs, there's no waiting for an appointment. There's, 'I'm gonna go out I'm gonna play and I'm gonna give my best.'"
During our interview a friend asked Carson, "Do people make fun of you?"
"Me? Sometimes," she answered.
"Why? That's really mean," the friend responded.
Carson has always wanted long hair but her surgeries require that her hair stays short. Her mom wasn't about to let Carson feel alone.
"I had decided the other night that I wanted to do something for Carson and let her know that we're backing her, and ya know what better thing I could do for her than shave my head," Cindy Cole said. "She's starting a new school in the fall, and she was a little bit worried about what kids are gonna say."
Cindy adds, "I didn't tell her. She woke up in the morning and she saw it and she goes, 'Mom!'"
"Cindy just said, 'Hey, I don't want Carson to go through this alone.' So it's a simple token of something that I can do to let her know, hey, mommy is here for you, mommy is here for you every step of the way, and we'll get through this one just like we did the other two," Matthew said.
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