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A second chance at childhood

After a life-saving gift from a college student in Texas, Cooper is back to being a kid—and back to school as a second grader.

At the same time Americans were about to have their lives turned upside down by the pandemic, Cooper’s family was about to face their own unthinkable challenge. 

It started when Cooper’s parents began noticing some unusual bruising. “He had fallen in the garage and got a huge bruise,” said his mom, Jen. “I thought, what is going on?”

After one look, the doctor sent them to the ER for a full blood panel. “The doctor called and said ‘I can’t tell you for certain, but I think your son has leukemia,’” Jen shared. They were admitted to the hospital for a few days of testing and Cooper was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

At just six years old, Cooper would need a bone marrow transplant to save his life. But first, he would have to spend another 45 days in the hospital enduring intense chemotherapy treatment to get his leukemia into remission before a transplant would even be possible. “That’s when the really hard part started,” said Jen. 

It was mid-April when Cooper reached remission. And remarkably, two suitable marrow donors were found—but all it took was one who was ready and willing to do whatever it took during a pandemic to give Cooper the gift of life. 

After receiving his marrow transplant May 11, Cooper experienced the BK virus and graft-versus-host disease. And due to COVID-19 visitor restrictions, his mom and dad could only stay with him one at a time. When he eventually got to go home, he was on 22 medications. Through it all, Cooper’s spirits remained high. “Cooper is a joyful boy—always smiling, even throughout cancer and the really hard days,” shared Jen.

As difficult as the experience was for their family, Jen was extremely grateful that it only took one round of chemotherapy to get Cooper into remission before transplant, that they were able to find Cooper’s donor match so quickly during a pandemic, and that he achieved 100% donor engraftment on his seventh birthday. 

Now past the critical one-year milestone, Cooper’s back to being his silly 7-year-old self. He’s starting second grade and loving up his dog, Dood and sister (and best friend), Liv. He also got to meet Ann, the college student from Texas, who saved his life. “The blessing Ann’s given us in incomparable,” said Jen. “She’s such an intricate part of our family—we love her.”

If you’d like to help us add more potential life-saving marrow donors like Ann to the Be The Match Registry® to give more patients like Cooper a second chance at life, please consider a gift to Be The Match today, consider a gift to Be The Match today.