Park Hill H.S. athlete forfeits his spot in national contest, gives it to student with only weeks to live

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UPDATE: Dominique Cooks died Tuesday night, April 15.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A young man who is special to all of us at FOX 4 because of his fight against testicular cancer, and because his mom is one of our colleagues, has once again shown his strength and unselfish heart.

Nick Hibbeler, 17, has many roles. He’s a Park Hill High School student, a soccer player, a brother to two sisters, the son of our Community Affairs Manager, Carrie Hibbeler, and a testicular cancer survivor.

People who know Nick’s story have been voting for him in a contest put on each year by USA Today. He earned a spot in the contest, which looks for the most inspirational athlete in high school sports.

Nick’s votes put him in the finals,  but on Thursday, Nick gave up his spot in the top ten, asking that another student fighting inoperable brain cancer be placed there instead.

Nick is now encouraging everyone to go vote for Dominique Cooks.

Doctors say Dom Cooks has weeks to live because of an inoperable brain tumor. Courtesy: facebook
Doctors say Dom Cooks has weeks to live because of an inoperable brain tumor. Courtesy: facebook

“My health prognosis has been pretty good for the most part and Dominique’s…he hasn’t been so lucky,” Nick said.

Dominique Cooks is a high school senior in at Decatur High School in Federal Way, Wash.  Doctors told him he had little time left to live, and was not expected to survive to graduation, so on Feb. 20, his school held a graduation ceremony especially for him. Click here to see some of those touching pictures from the ceremony.

In a news release from the Federal Way School District,  leaders mentioned Nick’s withdrawal from the contest in order to make room for Dominique.

The Seattle Times also mentioned Nick in its report:

During the first two rounds, Cooks has received over 100,000 votes. Nevertheless, as voting closed on Monday Dom was in 11th place, thousands of votes away from 10th place. But, on Tuesday morning, Teri Galloway, Decatur’s assistant athletic director, received a call from the USA today informing her that an athlete from Kansas City, Nick Hibbeler, withdrew because he is inspired by Dom and wants him to advance. With that act of sportsmanship, Dom is now in the finals.”

So, on behalf of Nick, you may vote for Dominique by clicking here.  The final round of voting kicked off at 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning, April 10 and will run through Monday, April 14, at 9:00 a.m. 

Prizes include:

  • Feature article on USA TODAY High School Sports
  • The Inspiration Trophy and In-school Presentation
  • $1,000 donation to the school’s athletic dept. of the winning athlete
  • *All finalists will receive an Inspiration T-shirt

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