Honors college executive director Cobane announces bone cancer diagnosis

Jake Moore, Content Editor

Editor’s note: This story has been updated following an interview with Dr. Cobane.

Executive Director of the Mahurin Honors College Craig T. Cobane announced his recent diagnosis with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, on Tuesday in a video shared via the Mahurin Honors College Twitter account.

“I want to be very clear with everyone. Very clear. I will make it through this challenge,” Cobane said in his address to the WKU community. “Once this is done, I will be stronger, I will be healthier, and hopefully I will also be wiser, a better man, a better brother and a better son. I want to thank my friends, and family, for all of their prayers and support.”

Cobane explained that he underwent surgery on March 5 to correct an injury sustained from a mountain biking accident 20+ years ago. During this procedure, surgeons discovered a tumor on Cobane’s right acromion bone, a part of the shoulder blade. The tumor was found to be malignant.

“My shoulder hurt like heck because of the injury, we thought it was related to the the bike wreck,” Cobane said in a phone interview following his announcement. “So my shoulder hurt much less after they went in and pulled the the tumor out.”

Following the diagnosis, Cobane said he was shocked, but was able to approach the news with his trademark sense of humor.

“I think like everybody you’re just a little stunned, and when I’m stressed, my sense of humor comes out,” Cobane said. “I think I actually cracked a couple jokes.”

 

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, osteosarcoma is most commonly found in children, teens and young adults and develops most frequently in the long bones of the legs.

“As you have no doubt have deduced, my situation, neither the age, nor the area for this type of cancer fits,” Cobane said in his address. “Throughout my life, I have been called unique and different. This cancer reinforces that description.”

Cobane said he will begin chemotherapy treatments, six cycles in all, on March 31 at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, and that the process should take approximately six to seven months.

We’re still going to send students abroad with nationally competitive scholarships. Graduate students, [we’ll] get them into the best graduate programs, med schools, law schools, and I’m still gonna be around. I can’t predict how I’m going to respond to chemo, but I have chemo on Thursday and Friday, I’ll rest up Saturday and Sunday and plan on being in the office Monday.”

— Craig T. Cobane

“I will have two cycles to start, then shoulder surgery to remove the rest of the tumor, and to put a bone graft to strengthen the acromion bone,” Cobane explained in the video. “Then I will finish with my final cycles of chemotherapy.”

The diagnosis and subsequent treatment process poses a challenge to Cobane, but he knows he has the ability to overcome whatever the future throws his way.

“I haven’t had a lot of time to process because I’ve got a lot of stuff I got to figure out, getting back and forth to Vanderbilt when you’re not allowed to drive because of the chemo,” Cobane said. “There’s lots of of stuff that has to be worked out, but you know, it’s all solvable problems. It’s the same kind of problem solving skills you have when you’re on a college.”

Cobane is a well-known and beloved figure among Mahurin Honors College faculty and students, perhaps best known for taking them on one-on-one “Morning walks with Dr. CTC” to talk about their passions, interests and dreams. He stated he will continue to be active in the college as much possible and #morningwalkswithctc will continue, albeit at a slightly slower pace.

“I told a couple of team members earlier that I may have to ask them to walk a little slower for me, usually they complain that I walk too fast, but I’ll probably have to pull back a little bit,” Cobane said with a chuckle.

He also stressed in his interview with the Herald that the Mahurin Honors College is in good hands, and will still continue to provide its transformational resources and opportunities to its students.

“A lot of people associate me with the college and I wanted to make sure that people realize that the Mahurin Honors College team is still going to have transformational opportunities,” Cobane said. “We’re still going to send students abroad with nationally competitive scholarships. Graduate students, [we’ll] get them into the best graduate programs, med schools, law schools, and I’m still gonna be around. I can’t predict how I’m going to respond to chemo, but I have chemo on Thursday and Friday, I’ll rest up Saturday and Sunday and plan on being in the office Monday.”

I want to make sure everybody realizes that we’re still going to do amazing stuff and change the lives of young people, because the Mahurin Honors College is about transforming individuals so those individuals can transform society. And that’s not gonna stop just because I may be not be working as many hours as I normally do.”

— Craig T. Cobane

Cobane thanked everyone who has reached out to offer support, expressing his gratitude for the community surrounding him.

“I do not know what help I may need in the months ahead, but I appreciate the offer and I will get back to you,” he said in the address.

Cobane closed the video by reiterating three reasons why he remains confident facing the road ahead.

“First, I have an amazing network of family, friends and loved ones,” Cobane said. “Second, my medical team at Vanderbilt is world class. Third, and most importantly, I have my own big dreams that are still ahead of me. Nothing will prevent me from achieving my big dreams.”

Cobane assured the Herald and the WKU community as a whole that the Mahurin Honors College will continue to move forward with its transformative work, no matter what.

“I want to make sure everybody realizes that we’re still going to do amazing stuff and change the lives of young people, because the Mahurin Honors College is about transforming individuals so those individuals can transform society,” Cobane said. “And that’s not gonna stop just because I may not be working as many hours as I normally do.”

Content Editor Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.