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State Rep. Cookson needs liver transplant
DONIPHAN, Mo. -- State Rep. Steve Cookson is scheduled to begin undergoing tests May 1 in preparation for a life-saving liver transplant.
Cookson, 58, visited last week in Doniphan, three days after making national news by announcing his illness for the first time during discussion of a bill on the house floor in Jefferson City.
The proposed bill removes the expiration date for a tax-checkoff program for the Missouri Organ Donor Trust Fund. The House gave overwhelming support to the bill.
Cookson said he has been diagnosed with liver failure and will need a transplant if he is to survive. He said the liver failure resulted from blood viruses transmitted to him through a blood transfusion in the 1970s.
He said he hopes to receive a transplant after the legislative session ends May 12. He plans to finish the rest of his term if he can maintain his health. He is serving his fourth and final two-year term due to term limits.
Cookson said he will begin undergoing preliminary testing May 1 at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis.
Before seeking office, Cookson served as high-school principal for the Doniphan and East Carter County districts.
From 2002 to 2010, he was superintendent of the Naylor School District.
He serves on several Missouri House committees, including Higher Education, the Joint Committee on Education, the Special Committee on Tourism, and Children and Families.
He and his wife, Joy, have one son, Tyler.
"You have to have trust (in God)," Cookson said. "He knows the plan for all of us."