HANAHAN, SC (WCBD) – Hanahan High School defensive lineman Cooper Dawson and his friend Kingsley Fineman have always had a special bond – one that no disability or obstacle could ever break.
Defining a friendship; it’s the acts of kindness, a simple laugh, the impact you have on another life.
“At first he was a friend,” said Cooper. “Now he’s more of an inspiration.”
“I feel like we’re brothers sometimes because we’re very close,” said Kingsley.
Cooper and Kingsley first met in their freshman year at Hanahan High School.
“I saw him rolling down the hallways and he always had the biggest smile on, so I went up and introduced myself,” Cooper said of their meeting. “It was funny, he goes “Hi, I’m Kingsley, did you know I have cerebral palsy?”
Kingsley said, “I wanted to show him even though I can’t walk, I can still talk.”
We talked about his favorite things to do when hanging out together. With a massive grin, he replied, “ding-dong ditch.” Why? He said, “I love to knock on people’s doors.“
“So we’d knock on the doors and run, and Kingsley is just sitting there. We’d peek over the stairs and our friend opens the door and says ‘Kinglsey? What are you doing here?’ And he’d yell ‘surprise!’,” Cooper explained.
Their bond received national attention on signing day when Cooper allowed Kingsley to announce his decision for him.
“It just made me feel like even though I have cerebral palsy, I just wanted to show all of you I can do anything I put my mind to.”
The two will have to say good-bye for now, as Cooper makes his way up north to Syracuse. But he says the everyday attitude and love that Kingsley has for life will always stay with him.
“I’ve never seen Kingsley in a different mood than he is every single day. You can whisper a joke to him or just smile at him and he’s always going to be happy,” said Cooper.
So, how do you define friendship? Sometimes, it’s making someone feel like they are not different at all.
“I think about Cooper every single day,” said Kingsley. “Some days I have bad days, some days I have good days, and some days I don’t even feel like I have cerebral palsy. Just a normal person.”