Local News

May 21, 2013

Phoenix High grad epitomizes persistence

Cody Roden will not only graduate from Phoenix High School tonight, he’ll do so on time, despite battling illness for most of his life that has affected but never stalled his education.

“When he was six weeks old, he had RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and that turned into pneumonia,” said Roden’s mother, Carla Garcia. “They had to fly him up to T.C. Thompson (in Chattanooga). He stayed in a coma for 10 days. After he got out of the coma, he had to stay eight more days before he came home.”

But the real test was yet to come.

“When he was 4, he was playing on the trampoline. He was at my daughter’s, and he started bleeding,” Garcia said. “She called me, and we all went to the hospital. They did an ultrasound and told us he had a two-pound tumor.”

Roden was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a kidney cancer that typically occurs in children. It had destroyed his right kidney and metastasized into both his lungs.

“They sent us back to T.C. Thompson, and the next day he had surgery,” Garcia said. “He was there for a week, then we went to St. Jude in Memphis. He was there for a month the first time. He got chemo and radiation, and when we came back he continued his chemo at T.C. Thompson.”

Roden says he remembers little of that time.

“He knew he was sick, but he didn’t know how serious it was at the time,” Garcia said. “As he got older, he realized just how sick he was. We’ve had to keep going back to St. Jude. But his last visit will be this July.”

Roden says he’s looking forward to not having to go back to St. Jude anymore.

“They have a lot of good people there, but it will be nice not to have to go,” he said.

The battle with cancer, and the treatments he had to take, left Roden with a weakened immune system.

“He got sick a lot over the years. Sometimes it was a struggle for him to be there (at school), and when he did miss days he had to make up his tests and work,” said Garcia. “But he passed ever year.”

Roden said he never thought of giving up.

“He always talked about how important it was. I think it made it extra special for him that he had to struggle so hard,” said Garcia.

Roden attended Southeast Whitfield High School and then entered Coahulla Creek High School when it opened in 2011. But he had a seizure that year and had to be put on a new medication for that. He finished the school year through a home-based program and enrolled at Phoenix High School at the start of this school year. Phoenix is a school for “students who cannot or choose not to remain in a regular high school program,” according to its website. The school is jointly funded and operated by the Dalton and Whitfield school boards.

“It (Phoenix) was better for him because he had to be out of school so much with doctors appointments and things like that,” Garcia said.

Phoenix High School counselor Beth Hayes says she was very impressed by Roden’s desire to complete high school.

“Rarely have I seen the dedication and persistence in a young man that I have seen in Cody,” she said. “He is not a quitter, and I think that because of his tenacity and determination there’s nothing that can stop him.”

GRADUATION: The graduation for Phoenix High School is tonight at 7 at the trade center.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Kiwanis Club3.jpg Kiwanians get a lesson in money and banking

    Money.
    It makes it easier for us to buy and sell goods and services. It is the measure by which we judge the relative value of those goods and services, and it allows us to “store value,” by placing it away and using it when we need it.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff: Inmates don’t ask to vote

    In his 21 years of service, Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said inmates have never asked for the opportunity to vote.

    July 28, 2014

  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos