Cooper Kist marks one year anniversary of life threatening accident by raising money for others

Cooper Kist was proud to welcome Jordan Cue with The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital to his classroom in order to present the hospital with a check for $400 that he raised with the help of his fellow Eagle Grove Elementary classmates. Photo by Kim Demory

Imagine receiving a phone call that says your child is being life-flighted to Iowa City.

That’s exactly what happened to Terry and Lisa Kist of Eagle Grove on May 19, 2018. One year later, they are grateful that their son, Cooper, has made a remarkable recovery - and has made some “change” to benefit other kids and their families who need the services of The University Of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

It all started on graduation weekend. Terry and Lisa were in Kansas City for the NHRA races, and Cooper, then a third grader had just been dropped off by his sister, Kylee, to stay with family friends in Clarion.

Shortly after his arrival, the Kists got a phone call saying that Cooper had fallen off a golf cart and was being taken to the Iowa Specialty Hospital in Clarion. He had been riding with three other boys who were seated while he stood, holding onto the pole with his feet placed by all of the other boys’. They were going faster then they should have been and when the steering wheel was jerked, Cooper went flying off. He hit his head on the concrete.

When Cooper arrived at the hospital, he had to be sedated in order to get a tube down his throat, as they began preparing him for his helicopter ride to Iowa City.

“When we got the second call telling us they were life flighting him, we packed up and headed to Iowa City. It seemed like forever to get there,” recalled his mother with tears in her eyes.

When they finally arrived at The University Of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, they were told by family members already there that the doctors were not letting anyone back in Cooper’s room. More than 20 people stood in the waiting room, hoping, praying, and waiting.

“My heart dropped.” When the doctors came to talk to Terry and Lisa, they told them that Cooper had fractured his skull and had a brain bleed. He was in a medicated coma to prevent the brain from swelling. They also placed a three-inch screw in his head with a sensor on it.

When the brain was stimulated or swelling, the numbers on the sensor would go up. That was not good. The number needed to stay below 20 or he would be facing brain surgery.

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