As a young child, Cole Wooten has faced much adversity in his short life. But don't tell this 6-year-old that life's curves can't be beaten.
Cole, a kindergartner at Stevens Creek Elementary, was diagnosed with a rare skin disorder known as epidermolysis bullosa at birth.
"It's a really serious skin disease," said Cole's mother, Pam Wooten. "When he was first born, they told us the chances of us bringing him home were slim. The problem is the top two layers of his skin are not connected and he has some open wounds."
Once Mrs. Wooten and her husband, Curtis, were able to bring their son home, they decided that he would be allowed to do whatever he wanted to do.
"He's a typical 6-year-old," his mother said. "He uses a wheelchair most of the time, but he insisted on having a skating party for his birthday, so we had one."
Cole, who enjoys watching Cartoon Network and playing in the tub, said his classmates are pretty cool about his condition, rarely saying anything about his wounds, which reach from the top of his body all the way down to the soles of his feet.
"We really get to have a good time," Cole said of his school. "It's a good thing."
Cole Wooten, 6, a pupil at Stevens Creek Elementary, suffers from a rare skin disorder that leaves him with blisters and open wounds all over his body. Because his feet are very sensitive, he uses a wheelchair to get around most of the time.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"Dealing with his condition daily seems as if it would be very stressful, especially for a kindergarten child, but Cole is very accepting of the situation and is a smiling and happy little boy," said Ginger Richardson, Cole's teacher. "He does have painful days when the blisters rupture or his skin tears, but he rarely complains."
Richardson said that in her class, Cole strives not to be different or stand out from the other children.
"He truly is amazing because despite his skin disorder, he never expects special treatment or extra attention," she said. "He uses a wheelchair when transitioning from one place in the school to another, but leaves it at the door of our classroom and tries to walk while in our room. When it becomes too painful to walk on his feet, he moves around on his knees. There have been times when other students have bumped him accidentally, and even though it is painful for him, he is always very forgiving and tells the student, 'It is OK.'"
Mrs. Wooten said dealing with the skin disorder is a day-to-day thing.
"However long we have with Cole, that's great," she said. "We're going to enjoy whatever time we have with him."
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