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Royal Oak

Boy Scout’s project to benefit Children’s Hospital of Michigan

November 4, 2013

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Tim Cook, of Royal Oak, sands a table that he and others built Oct. 26 at his home. Cook decided to make the table, a bookshelf and a toy box, and donate them to Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit for his Eagle Scout project.

ROYAL OAK — When doctors diagnosed Tim Cook with Marfan syndrome, the 16-year-old Boy Scout took the news in stride.

“Marfan syndrome is not a very good prognosis, if not treated,” said Tim Cook, a Boy Scout on the verge of becoming an Eagle Scout.

Marfan is a disorder of connective tissue, particularly of the tissue connecting the aorta artery to the heart. Additionally, it can affect the skeletal system, cardiovascular system, eyes and skin, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Wes Cook, Tim’s father, said treatment for it is “night and day” when compared to just five years ago.

Doctors diagnosed Tim Cook with Marfan nearly a year ago in January.

“The way they presented it to me was you’re in good hands,” Tim Cook said.

With that assurance, Tim Cook knew he wanted to do something for children with the same disease.

“Even though you are going to be OK in the end, it’s still terrifying for a kid,” he said.

He called around to several children’s hospitals and pediatric departments around metro Detroit looking for ideas to help them.

“We wanted to make something permanent,” Tim Cook said. “It just sort of snowballed from you have this Eagle Scout project to do and you have this heart disorder.”

It wasn’t until talking with Children’s Hospital of Michigan that he finalized the idea for his project. The hospital was looking to add new furniture to its pediatric cardiology department.

With that in mind, Wes and Tim Cook visited the hospital, saw the space and decided that Tim Cook could make the department a new table, chairs, bookshelf and toy box.

“They were absolutely over the moon about it,” Tim Cook said.

Tim Cook said the hospital will use the table to set up diagrams to help explain the disease to their patients’ young siblings. 

“So that was something I wanted to definitely do and make really presentable,” he said.

First, though, came the planning stage. Before he could start building, he had to raise the money for the project. He corralled about 25 Boy Scout volunteers earlier in the fall and had them pass out fliers for a bottle and can drive to nearly 1,000 Royal Oak residents. The drive raised $800 for the project, much more than Tim and Wes Cook had anticipated.

Then the Cooks and their volunteers spent three days throughout October building the furniture and coating them with hospital-approved polyurethane.

“It was kind of a crash course on carpentry,” Wes Cook said of the experience.

Today, the finished set sits in the family’s home as Tim Cook waits to collect toys to fill the toy box and books to fill the bookshelf.

Tim Cook is looking for people willing to donate children’s books appropriate for an age range from toddlers to young teens. If interested in helping, email Wes Cook at Tim Cook is not looking for help with collecting toys due to the hospital’s strict regulations on them.

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