A Decatur High School senior who lost his battle with brain cancer was honored at a vigil Wednesday night put together by classmates, teachers, and friends. Dom Cooks inspired all of them.
"When you say inspiration, that's really what he was. He brought a whole community together," said Shani Wrenn.
Dom was a standout football and basketball player before he got sick. His classmates rallied around him as he fought a brave fight against brain cancer. On the day of his death, family members learned he'd placed third in the USA Today National Guard Most Inspiring Athlete Competition.
Dom's twin sister Diamond told KING 5 he took a turn for the worse on Sunday evening and had to be hospitalized. She says he fought his hardest those last few days, as he tried to hold on.
He died late Tuesday, with Diamond by his side.
"I told him I love him, he's my fighter, my soldier, and I'll always be here for him," she said.
Diamond says she wasn't surprised to see a huge crowd of people gathered on the school's front lawn on Wednesday, lighting candles and sharing stories about her brother.
"My brother touched a lot of people," she said. "And he never gave up, and one thing I know about Dom is he never, never asked 'why me' or complained or any of that."
His positive attitude is something that rubbed off on Dom's classmates and friends. They say that's one of the biggest lessons he taught them over the years, and something they'll remember long after his death.
Students planned a special graduation ceremony for Dom in February, when doctors told his family he likely wouldn't make it to the school's official graduation ceremony in June. Diamond walked across the stage with her brother on that day.
She says she plans to pursue a career in medicine, to try to help other people battling cancer.
Funeral arrangements for Dom have not yet been set.