The marshal of Arlington's Fourth of July Grand Parade is Kody Cunningham, who turned 11 on March 30.
Kody attends President's Elementary School.
Kody was named Police Chief for a Day recently, and parade organizers decided he should also be the grand marshal.
"Kody and I will be leading the parade in a police vehicle, as is customary for the police chief, then we'll be circling back to jump on the parade marshal vehicle," Police Chief Nelson Beazley said.
Kody was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) when he was five weeks old. CF is a lung and digestive disease. He takes inhaled and oral medications throughout the day to keep his lungs healthy and maintain his weight.
Kody is very active with sports (soccer, baseball, basketball) and doing "normal kid things" like riding his bike, hanging out with friends and playing video games, said his mom, Lynnea Shephard.
"He slows down long enough to do his treatments and take his pills, but the disease does not keep him from being active. We are so fortunate that medications have helped keep Kody healthy and active," she said.
Shephard said her son is like any typical kid.
"He complains sometimes about all his treatments and the pills he has to take, but he does an outstanding job keeping up with them because he knows the importance. Treatments are usually a team effort but he knows exactly what needs to be done and when. He'll do them on his own if he needs to, with timers to remind him to pause the video game or jump off his bike to do what is necessary."
Shephard said that her friend, Caryn Brown, nominated Kody for Chief of the Day and he was lucky enough to be chosen.
"People are attracted to Kody," she said.
Chief Beazley agreed.
"Kody is a fine young man who has endured more challenges than a child his age should have to face," Beazley said. "His positive attitude is an inspiration and I am so proud to have him as my first Chief for a Day."
The average life expectancy of a CF patient is 37 and 1/2 years old, but all of Kody's goals are long term, Shephard said.
Kody lives with his mother in Arlington. His dad, Brandon Cunningham, lives in Stanwood.
He has a stepbrother, Justin Shepard, and a stepsister, Amanda Shepard.
Give him a shout when you see him drive by in the parade.
Kody Cunningham, 11, was named Arlington's Police Chief for a Day recently. He will attend a police conference with Arlington's police chief in August, and he will be the marshal of Arlington's Fourth of July Grand Parade, too.