• 13-year-old comes to Charlotte for life-saving cancer treatment

    By: Allison Latos


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Cole Owens, 13, thinks he's just a regular kid.

    "I play a lot of sports like soccer and basketball and I like to rock climb," he said.

    For the past three years, he's been fighting his second battle with an extremely rare, deadly form of soft tissue cancer that caused a tumor on his liver.

    "When it came back, I was more aware of what was going on and it was a lot more saddening," said Owens.

    "We really were reaching the point where if the tumor kept growing and nothing stopped it, his liver would fail and that would be it," said mother Laura Owens.

    Surgeons around the country wouldn't operate, but then the Owens traveled from their home in St. Louis to the team at Charlotte's Levine Cancer Institute, including Dr. John Martinie.

    "It was near some critical structures, mainly the portal vein, which is a large blood vessel that runs through your liver. That was a reason initially for some surgeons to say no," he said.

    Martinie successful removed the tumor 10 days ago.

    Cole is cancer free and isn't thinking about the disease.

    "It still doesn't affect me or define me," he said.

    Martinie cleared him to head home just in time for Christmas.

    "It's amazing. It is the best gift I could have ever asked for. It's the best gift we could have ever been given," said Owens.

    Martinie said parents should learn a lesson from Laura Owens. He advises that they do not take no for an answer, and always get another option.

    Doctors will scan Cole's body in January to make sure there are no signs the cancer is back but they believe he'll live a normal, healthy life.

    Check out Cole's Facebook page.

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