COLUMBUS, Ind. – When she was younger, Alana Cook had ambitions to become a basketball player in her high school and maybe play at the college level, but those plans changed.
In the fall of 2015, when Cook was in seventh grade at Northside Middle School, she was diagnosed with a malignant papillary neoplasm of the pineal gland, a papillary tumor near the base of the brain.
Cook was getting ready to enjoy her teenage years like a normal person, but the news of the tumor meant her life was about to change. The diagnosis also put an end to her dream of one day playing on the college basketball court.
“I didn’t even think something like this would ever happen to me. I just wanted to be on the basketball team. When I was told I had that, and thinking I’m not going to play basketball anymore, I was in seventh grade, those are the best years of your life to figure out what you’re going to do and be with all your friends. friends…” Cook said. “It was just hard to get that on my path, and I’d never been to the doctor for something this bad before.”
There was a great light at the end of the tunnel. After about a year of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Cook was finally cancer-free.
“When I rang the bell when I was done with my treatments, it was a good feeling,” Cook said. “The cancer world isn’t where you want to be, but at the same time it opens your eyes so much wider to what the world really is, and I met a lot of warriors and people I’ve lost and little kids who are still fighting. It makes you more grateful for the next days.”
Cook has been NED, which stands for ‘no evidence of illness’, for five years after her annual checkup with doctors last month.
Cook’s mother Holly said the family consulted doctors during last month’s checkup, and she will remain at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, continuing to have MRIs and other tests every year.
Alana Cook graduated from Columbus North in May and will attend Olivet Nazarene University in the fall. She will continue to be involved in women’s basketball as manager for the Tigers next season, a role similar to that she held for the Bull Dogs girls’ basketball team.
“I’m excited because we’ve been going to school for so long and so many years and we have to study what they want us to study,” Cook said. “Now we can study what we want to study. I really like church and going somewhere where I go to school and church and have my friends will be really cool.
See Sunday’s Republic for the full story.