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HCA Student Juno Cook - Local 12 News


CINCINNATI (WKRC) — Zoo lovers in the Queen City are patiently waiting for a new baby sloth to make its debut at the park and a little girl named Juno Cook can hardly wait.

She’s asking what a lot of people are wondering too.

“Where is the baby if she’s not in there?” Juno asked.

“The baby and the mom are behind the scenes with their keepers," a zoo staff member responded. "They’re just giving the mom some medicine so she can feel better and then hopefully they’ll be out in the children’s zoo soon.”


Winding through Discovery Forest, a visit with the sloth's dad, Moe, and cute photos of the baby will have to do for now.

Juno is battling an extremely rare bone disorder called Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis (CRMO) . The zoo has become her happy place.

“It’s so close to the hospital. It’s so close to Ronald McDonald. It's just uplifting, when you’re in this sour situation, it just tends to make lemonade. It makes it a little bit better. She's excited to go do something. It’s so close, when she gets tired we can leave,” said her mother, Stephanie Cook. “It was really scary at first. The pain was so bad in the beginning that she was unable to walk sometimes.”

CRMO causes inflammation and lesions throughout her body, including her spine.

“She has to do IV infusions, so we go to Children’s every three months, and we do a three day course of treatment,” said Stephanie Cook. “A lot of families have to go to other states in order to even get a diagnosis. And just to watch your child go through pain, and every day is different, it really has impacted our lives.”

After having to give up soccer and other activities, Juno can just be a kid at the zoo. Her family has taken a trip after almost every treatment.

They are hopeful. The treatments are working, just nine months after she was diagnosed.

After all she's been through, the baby sloth has brought joy to Juno because of the simple, but special connection they share.

“The new baby sloth, do you know its name?” Local 12 asked Juno.

"Juno!" she responded.

Thousands of people on social media voted to name the sloth 'Juno' when it was born last month.

The other Juno can't wait to see the sloth once it’s on display.

“It was really cool. Juno’s not a very common name, so that’s exciting for her,” said Stephanie Cook. “She was super pumped because first she can never find anything with her name on it.”

Juno's family hopes she will be in remission as soon as next month.

The zoo expects Juno the sloth will make its debut in a couple weeks.


by Marella Porter, WKRC

View the Article on Local 12

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