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Local cowboy doesn't let anything get him down

August 16, 2011

Cody Chirstian, disabled athlete and professional team roper, astride Xanax, his champion quarter horse as they compete for the win.

A hometown cowboy
who overcame adversity
to follow his dream will
participate tonight in the
Phil Gardenhire Rodeo.
Riding with him will be
his life long friends, determination,
dedication, heart
and soul.
Cody Christian, 30, of
Spiro, has spent his life
achieving things that some
take for granted, but never
once did it slow him down.
Cody was born with a cancerous
tumor called
Neuroblastoma. At the
age of nine months, Cody
was admitted to St. Judes
Research Hospital in
Memphis, TN., and soon
underwent surgery to
remove the tumor.
Following the surgery, he
faced months of chemotherapy
but the diagnosis
was grim as the tumor had
affected his nervous system
causing irreversible
damage that affected his
legs. This, along with the
discovery that he was born
without his right hip socket,
caused the doctors to
fear he would never walk.
That is where the first
signs of Cody’s “grace of
God” as he calls it, and his
determination surfaced.
Soon after the cancer was
in remission, Cody underwent
17 reconstructive
surgeries to create a hip
socket and hopefully correct
the damage caused by
the tumor to his left leg.
Once the surgeries were
completed and the body
cast Cody spent four
months in was removed,
Cody who was then age 7,
took his first steps defying
the less than hopeful prognosis
of the medical staff.
Starting with the aid of
a walker, it didn’t take
Cody long and he was
walking with only the help
of braces. This monumental
accomplishment gave
him the freedom to follow his dream of being a cowboy.
From the moment Cody
was walking, he began riding.
Raised on a 300 acre
farm with cattle to work,
Cody learned to ride from
“his Superman”, his father
John Christian. His father
began rodeoing in the sixties
and with that experience, a
little push at times and the
knowledge that his son had
the heart to achieve his
dream, John taught Cody to
ride and as his body became
stronger, he taught him to
rope.
Soon Cody was participating
as a youth in breakaway
calf roping. This event
didn’t require Cody to dismount
his horse but the age
limit is 12, which Cody
quickly reached. Faced with
the dilemma of how to continue
doing what he so loved,
John encouraged Cody to
enter team roping and that is
when the Christian father and
son roping team was born.
“I’ve had many roping
partners throughout my
career,” said Cody. “But my
dad was my first and foremost.”

For the full feature story, see the August 13 edition of the Poteau Daily News.

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