It's Happening: "Channeling Carter and His 'I Can Do It' Mantra" - Reprise

By Julie Perine on August 05, 2018 from It’s Happening via Connect-Bridgeport.com

This blog originally ran in April of 2017 and I've decided to repost it with some updated information about this now amazing 8-year-old and how he continues to beat the odds with perseverance and determination which overshadow his diagnosis of spina bifida. Over the past year, Carter has again played One King Sports basketball, gone skiing at Snowshoe multiple times, played baseball with Bridgeport Little League Challenger Division, was on the summer swim team, spent a week at Mountaineer Spina Bifida Camp in Ripley, done plenty of fishing and participated in both a 5K and two-mile race in Clarksburg. Carter is excited to start the third grade this year. 
 
Whatever you're facing in your life, consider yourself inspired, thanks to Carter. 
 
 
ORIGINAL APRIL 2017 POST:
 
Sunday afternoon, the Bridgeport Little League Challenger Division – under the dedicated leadership of Mike Martin and family - opened the season at Bridgeport Recreation Complex. Included in these spirited athletes with disabilities is Carter Cobb, a 6-year-old victim of spina bifida.
 
Spina bifida is a birth defect which occurs when the bones of the spine - the vertebrae - do not form properly around the part of the baby’s spinal cord. Though in most cases it is mild, sometimes – as in Carter’s case - it is quite severe, with substantial damage to the nerves.
 
“There was a hole in his spinal cord and it’s almost like the nerves in the spinal cord come out and are damaged. They can never be fixed, but they fixed the hole in his spinal cord after he was born,” said Carter’s mom, Lori.
 
Some may think this little boy suffers with the debilitating disease, but from what I can see, he is thriving, despite of it.
 
Lori and her husband Pat Cobb found out about the condition during Lori’s pregnancy, but not until week 30.
 
“You can usually find out about spina bifida during the 14-week anatomy scan, but they missed it,” Lori said. “So we didn’t know until the last couple of months of the pregnancy. But it was a blessing in disguise. We didn’t have to stress out about it throughout the whole pregnancy.”
 
That same positive – glass half-full - attitude is obviously a family trait.
 
“I can do anything I want to do,” said the almost 7-year-old, who can walk short distances with a walker and leg braces, but the rest of the time travels by wheelchair.
 
“He walks from the classroom to the cafeteria or to the library,” Lori said. “He works on it.”
 
Baseball isn’t Carter’s only sport, but he told me it’s his favorite. He wears red and white for the “Angels” and said the best part of it all is when he hits the ball to the outfield and his buddies – Tyler and Savannah help him go around the bases.
 
This past winter, Carter played basketball with One King Sports. He was the only one on the floor in a wheelchair, but that didn’t bother him. He also spent time at Snowshoe – skiing.
 
“He’s in an adaptive ski program and has been doing that three or four years,” Lori said. “It’s actually really neat.”
 
Carter has been at it long enough that he doesn’t hang around the bunny slope. Rather, he told me, he skis blue – intermediate slopes - and black diamonds – the most difficult.
 
In Charleston, where both Lori and Pat are from and often visit, Carter plays in a hockey clinic - ice hockey played on sleds. He likes football too. Last month, he had the chance to spend the day with WVU Mountaineer and NFL players at a day camp held at Morgantown High School.
 
“He had a great day and loved all the football skills he got to practice,” Lori said.
 
Carter said he was excited to meet some of his favorite players – like former Mountaineer and 49ers wide receiver Rasheed Marshall and Wendell Smallwood Jr., who was a running back for the Mountaineers and later the Philadelphia Eagles.
 
Carter also races.
 
In August, he completed the One King Mud Run at the Barbour County Fairgrounds; a course which included various obstacles, including climbing wall, a mud bog and 13-foot warped wall finish line. In that race, Lori and Pat pushed him in a jogging stroller and assisted him in completing those and other obstacles. He especially liked the climbing wall, he said.
 
But on April 22, Carter went solo, completing the 11th Annual Drew’s Day, a 5K Run in St. Albans, dedicated to the memory of Andrew Humphreys, who passed away in 2006 due to complications of spina bifida.
 
“This is Carter’s seventh time participating,” Lori Cobb said. “He did most of the 3.1 miles himself this year.”
 
The camp is a place that children with spina bifida can unite with their peers and not feel out of place. There, they swim, play wheelchair hockey and baseball, make crafts and all kinds of other cool stuff. 
 
“Carter is excited to go to camp next summer when he is 8 and he knows that’s what the race is for,” Lori said.
 
He said he’s excited about all the activities at camp, but most excited about fishing with his friends.
 
Carter worked hard to prepare for the race, getting his arms in condition for the three-mile plus course.
 
“He trained some at the VA trail when we’d go run,” Lori said.
 
Carter also completed the Clarksburg two-mile race last year and plans to do that race – and the Kids K – again this year.
 
It’s not surprising that Carter also rides a scooter – and is quite a daredevil. He also likes bowling. And as everyone who attended the recent West Milford Elementary School talent show knows, he is quite a dancer, too.
 
A first grader, he likes school – especially math and spelling. He’s in Cub Scouts and served as Mr. Hawk for South Harrison High School this year, having the honor of carrying the crown for this year’s homecoming queen.
 
“He’s very outgoing and he knows everyone,” Lori said. “Everywhere we go, people are saying ‘Hey Carter’ – and we’re always asking, ‘Who’s that?’”
 
Carter is Lori and Pat's only child. They don’t push him to play every sport under the sun.
 
“He sees everyone else do it and he wants to,” Lori said. “So we let him try.”
 
And between the three of them, they always figure out a way to make it happen.
 
“We say that a lot – that we’ll figure it out,” Lori said.
 
What's next for Carter?
 
"'I want to play soccer," he said.
 
But he might save that challenge for after his seventh birthday.
 
Pat is a dentist and Lori teaches match at South Harrison High School. She often has students come to her, talking about some of Carter’s physical adventures and accomplishments. Lori said he motivates a lot of people of all ages.
 
I’m here to tell you that the next time the words “I can’t do it” begin to form in my brain, I’m going to channel my new friend Carter and replace those words with “We’ll figure it out.”
 
Carter turns 7 years old on May 16.
 
Julie Perine can be reached at 304-848-7200 ext. 2, julie@connect-bridgeport.com.
 
 
 
 



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