Four years ago, Hanna and Chris Rapini welcomed their first child into the world, a son they named Cole. Seemingly healthy and strong, they took him home from the hospital ready to start their new life ... only that new life quickly took a tragic turn as his health started deteriorating.
From vision and hearing loss to severe developmental delays, he developed a host of medical issues. In his short life he has undergone countless tests and surgeries and traveled across the country looking for answers or a cure, but the only one that has been given is that it's an undiagnosed condition. Recently doctors dealt the devastating blow that Cole's situation is getting worse, and that he likely has only a few years left to live.
They are the words every parent fears, but instead of letting their sadness consume them, the Rapinis have decided to seize every remaining day with their son. On their website, they write, "In the meantime we have decided that we have a lot of fun things to do to make up for the lack there of in the last 4 years." Their first step -- to develop a bucket list for Cole.
The list currently contains 81 items, many of them heartbreakingly simple ones that we too often take for granted. Things like:
The family is checking the items off as they go, and posting pictures along the way. There are other bigger items there as well that his parents hope will help spread awareness and help others with undiagnosed conditions. An easy one anyone can help with -- join Cole's Bucket List Facebook Page. Already there are more than 5,000 members, and the goal is to get as many as 100,000.
They are also asking for help in getting HR2671 CAL Undiagnosed Disease Research and Collaboration Network Act passed. People are urged to contact their state representatives and ask them to sign it.
I'm always amazed when families show such strength and grace in the face of great tragedy like this. Cole and his family are such a source of inspiration and a reminder to us all to enjoy every day we have. I hope they check off every item on that list.
What would be on your child's bucket list? Will you share this and help Cole check off the items on his bucket list?
Image via Cole's Cause