Robert Cook (1939)

Disclaimer: The following was transcribed from an article in the Capper Foundation Archives published by The Topeka Capital-Journal. The choice of words used at the time this was written may not reflect current Capper Foundation inclusive language and views

Robert Cook (1939)

Robert Cook contracted infantile polio when he was 3 years old. He said he doesn’t remember much about when he had the disease, but it led to trouble with his legs.

In 1939, when he was 12 years old, his parents contacted Capper Foundation, then called The Capper Foundation for Crippled Children. Cook said that because he was just a child, his parents didn’t tell him much, but he assumed his mother asked the foundation for help and was told yes.

The doctor who examined him said he would need a muscle transfer. The procedure involved taking muscles from his back and putting them into his left thigh, he said. He spent six weeks in bed with a body cast that went up to his armpits and had to learn to walk again.

But the part that Cook remembers most is being part of the club and the annual Capper Foundation picnics.

“They had a day that we went to the park and it was really nice,” he said.

After the procedure, Cook said he looked and walked almost perfectly.

Cook grew up and joined the military, spending three years as an air traffic controller for the Air Force and two years as a helicopter crew chief in the Marines. In retirement, he spends time woodworking. He even built a child-sized table and chair for the silent auction at Capper Foundation’s An Evening As a Child event.

Editor’s note: After this article was published, Robert passed away on April 2, 2015.