Race for CHAnge: A Mother’s Story of Cancer, Courage, and Loss

Race for Change_CooperCooper Henry Abbott October 12, 2008 – November 27, 2017

On one hand, Cooper Henry Abbott was a typical kid. He played baseball, practiced Tae Kwon Do, enjoyed his studies and his schoolmates, loved his friends, family and all-things Star Wars. On the other hand, our sweet “Super Coop” was the most extraordinary of humans. He wasn’t just a ‘cancer survivor.’ He was my son.

In his nine all-too-short years, our sweet Cooper stood tall and heroic. At age two he confronted sarcoma. At age six, a brain tumor. Just after his eighth birthday, he was diagnosed with secondary leukemia – a sad legacy, having been brought on by the very treatments used to treat his previous cancers.

Race for Change_Cooper Rope SwingFor a little more than a year, overcoming setback after setback, including 35 days on a ventilator, he soldiered on. Again and again he recovered when doctors said he could not, always exceeding expectations. He was the ultimate cancer survivor.

However, while his body and his organs continued their fight to thrive, efforts of the medical community and medicine failed him. Just after Thanksgiving, our options ran out. Cooper died at 8am on November 27, 2017.

Throughout it all, Cooper was strong and determined. Although missing countless days of school, he never lost his place or fell behind. Having received 60 radiation treatments, he nonetheless remained active and continued to play sports. Although sedated more than 75 times in four years times, his mind stayed sharp and he could still ace a spelling test. While he spent months away from home receiving treatment, he never complained: never jealous or resentful of those not in his tiny shoes.

Race for Change_cooper runningWatching his inspiring journey, I never ceased to be amazed at the strength and resilience of Cooper and kids like him: as if by design they can survive and thrive under horrific circumstances – even cancer — better than adults.

However, youthful exuberance, hope and strength of will are not enough – clearly. What kids like Cooper need are more and better medicines. Options that don’t cause pain, suffering, lifelong side effects, or even most cruelly, another cancer. To that end, we are drawing inspiration and determination from our Cooper and the many other children facing cancer who NEVER GIVE UP! We can no longer fight for our sweet Cooper’s life, but we can get back up and fight for others.

Join us on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 8:30am at Midlothian Middle School (13501 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian, VA 23113) as we race to honor Cooper’s memory and raise money to bring change – and a chance – to children fighting cancer.

Race for CHAnge raises funds to fight childhood cancer. All proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer research in memory of our son. Walk, jog, run or stroll with us and help give kids more cures, more life and more HOPE! If Cooper were here, he’d be walking with us I’m sure!

For more information or to donate, please visit Race for CHAnge.