In 2013 when she was a sophomore at Medina High School, Hayden Cory bought an outfit to go on a date with a boy in her biology class. Her lab partner — Collin Kiousis — had asked her to the movies.
“I had my first kiss with him (that night),” she remembered.
Cory dated Kiousis until he died of cancer at age 20 earlier this year.
“He was pretty gentleman-like on the first date,” she said.
Cory said she tries to stay busy and has a strong support group around her of family, friends and Kiousis’ family.
She spends time working with Collin Cares — Cure Cancer, the nonprofit Kiousis founded after he found out he was sick.
The next big fundraiser, she said, is the second Glow with the Flow 5K in August at the Medina County Career Center.
“People always want to buy shirts (from the foundation),” she said, which can be found at collincares.net.
Kiousis was diagnosed in 2014 with pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare disease, Kiousis’ dad, Thomas Kiousis, said.
His son endured an 18-hour surgery in January 2015. The following May, however, the cancer returned.
Cory said she wouldn’t change a thing about her first serious relationship.
“Looking back on it, I know that I definitely have had to experience things that no one would want to have to, but he definitely made it all worth it,” she said. “I wouldn’t have changed a thing. If I had to go through it, I would. Some things were amazing.”
The couple had many common interests, Cory said, which included road trips, fishing, working on their cars (“because Collin loved cars”), snowboarding and even working together on a back stage crew for high school productions.
Kiousis stayed busy before and during his illness, Cory said, which has given her motivation.
“He taught me how to live life to the fullest with how active he was, even when he wasn’t feeling the greatest,” Cory said. She said he never seemed to sit still.
Cory isn’t sitting still either. The 19-year-old Medina resident attends Kent State University and is majoring in English. Her dad is a flight instructor, and he’s helping her attain her private license so she can become a commercial airline pilot.
“Looking back at everything … I’m really blessed to have my support system with me now and the time I was able to spend with him,” she said.
Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.