Myles Cook memorial run raises money

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, September 11, 2013
A memorial run/walk took place near West Liberty, Saturday, in honor of Myles Cook, a West Liberty graduate who died from muscular dystrophy last December.

Around 75 showed up to participate in the "Four Miles For Myles Cook" event. It started at the home of the University of Iowa's Coordinator Mitchell Kelly, west of town. Participants ran/walked west on 120th St., and returned the same route for a total of four miles.

Proceeds and donations went toward a scholarship in Myles Cook's name for a 2014 graduating senior from West Liberty High School.

"Education was important to Myles," his mother Glenda Cook, said. "He loved school and thought education was important. It's a great honor for him, and it's just overwhelming."

Last year the family sold egg rolls and was able to create two $1,000 scholarships. This year the run made around $1,500. Glenda wants to make two scholarships again, and plans to do more fundraising to make that possible.

Myles Cook was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) at a young age. DMD is not only the most common, but the most fatal form of muscular dystrophy. It causes the heart and lungs to rapidly deteriorate.

He was forced to spend a lot of his life in wheel chair; however, he was both well received and well loved by the communities of Nichols, West Liberty and Iowa City.

"It's a nice legacy for him," added his mother. "He couldn't walk, but now we're running for him."

The idea for the run came to Mitchell Kelly while he was out running one day. He told the family about the idea and they loved it. His daughter, Marissa, was a friend of Myles.

The walk/run was kept relatively simple. No awards were given out, and it started with the participants grouping up and taking off together. It was meant to honor Myles Cook, not to be a competition.

"I think Myles had a profound impact on the class of 2013. The thought of any parent losing a child that young is painful to even consider in the deepest and darkest part of the mind," said Kelly. "If I lost a child, I would not want him or her to be soon forgotten."

Afterward Kelly held a tailgating party at his house for the University of Iowa's first football game of the 2013 season.

"I think it all went great," said Glenda Cook. "There was definitely more student participation than I was expecting." Many students, including the WL cross country team, attended the event.

While there's no concrete date, she wants to continue the tradition next year, perhaps even switching up the route and the house where it starts. But whatever she does, Myles' legacy has been cemented in the community.

"I have nothing but great admiration for Glenda and Mark Cook and how they’ve honored Myles’ memory.  I do believe that he raised the consciousness of every member of the class of 2014," said Kelly. "That is an amazing legacy."
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