Cody's journey: From near-drowning survivor to college graduate with honors

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by Kevin Reece/ KHOU 11

khou.com

Posted on August 10, 2012 at 6:21 PM

HOUSTON--Cody Brunt’s graduation, summa cum laude with a 3.9 GPA and a Bachelor of Science degree in diagnostic imaging from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, is impressive enough. It’s even more impressive when you consider doctors once gave him only a one-percent chance to live.

Brunt was six years old when on a sailing trip with his family in Clear Lake, the boat began to tip over at the dock. His lifejacket became tangled in ropes and he couldn’t wrestle himself free as the boat submerged. 

He was underwater at least seven minutes. When a family member was finally able to bring him to the surface he was lifeless, blue, and seemingly without much of a chance.

"They said really we don’t think he’ll make it through the night," recalled his mom Ella.

In the hospital, doctors told Cody’s parents he had probably suffered severe brain damage, his lungs were hemorrhaging from all of the salt water he ingested, and they only gave him a one-percent chance of survival. Cody emerged from a coma after nine days and started defying the dire predictions.

"My parents prayed that I wouldn’t remember the accident or the drowning and I’m thankful that I don’t," said Cody just hours before his college graduation ceremony. 

He did spend several days in rehab immediately after the near drowning in 1997, learning to walk, talk, read, and write again.

But in the years that followed he thrived. His mom wrote a book about their journey, titled "God Always Wins." It’s a testament to their Christian faith and the role they believe it played in Cody’s recovery. Now, with his college graduation and future plans to pursue an MBA, they are celebrating his newest milestone.

"I’m very excited. It’s a big deal for me. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. So I’m ready to celebrate," said Cody.

"He takes life serious but he enjoys it at the same time," said his mom. "He’s got goals and plans and it’s mainly to help other people."

"Any kind of message of hope that you can get to people I think is very important because it can impact their life in a big way," said Cody.

Cody’s graduation from M.D. Anderson’s School of Health Professions took place Friday night at Rice University.

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