The Overflowing Life and Faith of Cody Brown

by Dana Williamson

The clock on the scoreboard showed 1:32 left in the fourth quarter of the Oklahoma-Fresno State football game last September, as 8-year-old Cody Brown took his last breath at his home in south Oklahoma City.
Over the previous few weeks, Cody and Oklahoma University Coach Bob Stoops had become friends. And Stoops began wearing a cancer-awareness pin, which Cody gave him, on his visor at every game.
Cody, in his eight short years, had a lot of achievements. He was a firefighter for a day at the Oklahoma City and Newcastle fire departments and was featured on a local news channel riding in a fire truck. He played in the outfield for the Moore Lions T-ball team. He was a "pilot for a lifetime" at Tinker Air Force Base. He has a field at a ballpark in Moore named after him.
He was given an American flag that was flown during Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq. And he was posthumously awarded a "game ball" from that OU-Fresno State game. But these were far from his greatest achievements! More about that later on.
Cody was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a childhood form of cancer, when he was 3. He had surgery to remove a tumor from his adrenaline gland and was cancer-free for a year.
However, the disease reappeared with five tumors in his abdomen. Two of them disappeared with treatment, and the other three were surgically removed. He remained in remission for two years and four months.
"We thought since he had been in remission for so long, we had beaten it," said his mother, Tammy. But in January of last year, Tammy noticed a large knot on Cody's head. She thought it happened when he slid down the stairs in a laundry basket, but after it didn't go away, and Cody had continued headaches, they headed back to the doctor where they received the news that the cancer had returned.
His mother and stepfather said Cody had a passion for sharing Jesus. "He had a calling," Dennis said. "He wanted to be a preacher. In fact, he and his friend, Perry, had plans to drive a monster truck with a trailer around the world telling people about Jesus."
Tammy said Cody told her that Jesus talked to him in his dreams. "He said, Jesus is going to have me out there telling people about Him,'" she recounted. "That made me think even more that Cody was going to get well."
Cody told her that everything was going to be all right. "If I die, I'm going to heaven and play on the golden playground every day," she recalled him saying. "I don't know where he came up with that. I never talked to him about things like that because I wasn't a Christian then." But Cody's faith eventually led his mother, his father, and his older brother to Christ.
Tammy, who was divorced from Cody's father, Rick, was saved in December, 2001, and joined Eagle Heights Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, where she met Mark Dennis. They married a year after her divorce.
Dennis said he was at a singles meeting at the church and feeling very low. He was sitting by himself, when Cody came by and started a conversation.
From that night on, Cody and Dennis became friends, with Cody begging his mother to let him sit with Dennis in church every week. "I'm sure Mark fell in love with Cody before he fell in love with me," Tammy said.
Dennis, who is a singles teacher at Eagle Heights, had the privilege of baptizing Cody on April 21, 2002.
Dennis said, "When Cody met someone, he had two questions for them: Do you go to church?' and Have you been baptized?'"
When they moved into their new house, Dennis added, Cody asked a next-door neighbor if he went to church. "He told me that Cody asked the question with such force that he knew it meant a lot to him, and [the neighbor] didn't know how to respond, because he didn't go to church."
The day Cody died, his father, Rick Brown, called Tammy and Mark and asked if they were going to church the next day. He wanted to go with them, and he made a profession of faith that day.
"Every weekend when his dad picked him up for a visit, Cody asked him if he had given his life to Jesus yet," Tammy said. "Cody told him, You don't have to clean yourself up. Jesus will do that.'"
Dennis had the privilege of baptizing both Cody's father and his older brother, Ricky, who also made a profession of faith after Cody's death.
Cody may not have lived to fulfill his calling to be a preacher, but he did have an opportunity to preach a sermon, along with his stepfather, to a congregation at First Baptist Church in Tuttle, Okla., in August. "He preached about David and Goliath, his favorite Bible story," Dennis said.
Dennis said, at one point, when he and Cody were leaving the hospital after one of Cody's chemotherapy treatments and had visited with a young boy who was also a victim of cancer, Cody asked him a question: "Do you think God would allow me to take that boy's cancer, and I could beat it for him?"
"Cody told me I probably wouldn't know the answer to his question, and he was right," Dennis said. "But that's the kind of kid he was. He was willing to lay down his life for a friend."
At Cody's funeral service, where a 6-year-old boy was saved, Dennis told the packed church that Jesus touched and changed lives 2,000 years ago, and lives are still being changed because of His ministry.
"Cody was a follower of Jesus Christ, and although he only walked on this earth for eight years, he touched lives," Dennis said. "If we follow Cody's lead, what he did during those eight years could continue to change lives."
2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad