BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - You may notice many signs along the roadsides in Elizabethtown and White Lake asking you to "Pray for Cody," a six-year-old boy who was diagnosed with a tumor attached to his brain stem.
Cody Clark was diagnosed last month and underwent a nine hour surgical procedure just five days before Christmas, but it wasn't enough to completely remove the tumor.
Now, Cody is undergoing several weeks of extensive radiation and chemotherapy at Duke University's Medical Center.
"You look at him and think he is so tiny and fragile, but he is stronger than we are," said Brenda Clark, Cody's Grandmother.
When the news first came out about Cody's medical condition, it seemed the entire White Lake and Elizabethtown communities rallied to help him and his family with medical expenses. Several fund raisers have been held, and more are planned in the near future.
Angie Butcher, who is helping to coordinate some of the events, says she is not surprised with the outpouring of support.
"I am not surprised, the community has been known for coming together to help those in need" said Butcher. "It really is amazing. It is amazing that the students, the churches and the community as a whole comes together to help someone in their time of need as they do."
Cody is a kindergarten student at Bladen Lakes Primary School. In his classroom, a stuffed monkey is sitting is Cody's seat, provided by the Duke staff, to keep his seat occupied until Cody is well enough to return.
"We have the monkey sitting in Cody's chair, keeping his chair ready for him to come back," said Dr. Reida Roberts, Principal at Bladen Lakes Primary School. "Cody can just light up a room, everybody knew him, everybody loved him, and we still do."
Cody's Grandmother is asking people to pray for both of her grandsons, Cody and his 12-year-old brother, Hunter, in addition to his mother and father. She also reminds all parents to give their children a hug every day.
"A hug is priceless today, tomorrow you may not know how much that hug is worth," said Clark.