SPECIAL REUNION: Boy And Athlete Brought Together
Monday brought a special reunion in Eastern Iowa for a young boy and a former NFL star.
A few years ago, the pair met while they were both battling Leukemia.
Now the two are together again to celebrate a milestone in treatment.
Cole Halbakken and Kenechi Udeze met three years ago at the Fools Five Road Race in Lewiston. And right away the pair hit it off.
“He had just had a spinal tap that morning of the race and Kenechi pushed his wheelchair through the race for him. I mean it was just really cool,” friends said.
Since then, the two have kept in touch as young Cole went through years of chemo and radiation treatment.
“When Cole would do overnights, Kenechi would call sometimes and talk to him. It was cool because he knew exactly what Cole was going through,” friends added.
Cole had his last treatment on June 25th. On Monday he got a special surprise.
“Oh man, I had no idea,” he said.
Friends said they hugged when they saw each other.
Cole spent the day with Kenechi at Vikings Training Camp. There he learned the ropes, tested his skills and met the players, including superstar Adrian Peterson.
“When he shook my hand it kind of hurt a little bit and it hurt a little bit when he hugged me too,” Cole said.
And while Cole took home a number of souvenirs signed by Vikings players, it was a hat bearing a message from his friend Kenechi that told the real story of the day.
He told him to never give up and keep fighting. The same message he told Cole that day four years ago, and he never did.
Cole said it was one of the best days of his life.
Kenechi recently celebrated five years since his bone marrow transplant. Cole completed his in June.