Bailey Cooper was similar to every other child until doctors diagnosed him with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in the year 2016. All of a sudden his life became full of doctor visits and trips to get chemo.
Through the whole process he remained very positive and cheerful and nothing seemed to get him down.
He went into remission in February 2017. He went back to school and his life suddenly went back to normal.
Unfortunately, over Easter break, his family took a called from the doctors and were told his cancer has returned.
Again, Bailey fought valiantly and the cancer went back into remission. The family held onto hope that this time it was for good.
Then, in August, came the heartbreaking blow: the cancer had returned yet again, and it did not look good this time.
“[The consultant] broke the news to us,” said Bailey’s father, Lee. “It was late Stage Four, and it was even worse. It was very aggressive.”
The cancer had spread at a rapid speed. Doctors found massive lumps in Bailey’s chest,liver,lungs, and stomach. They gave him only a short while to live. Maybe only days.
Bailey was devastated when he got the news, but he was also very determined to live to meet his newborn baby sister, who was due a few months later. They all hoped he would be around and live that long.
Amazingly, the little boy proved yet again to be a fighter. In November, he got to hold his newborn sister in his arms. His parents even let him choose her name: Millie.
“He hugged her and did everything an older brother would do — change her, wash her, sing to her,” said Bailey’s mother, Rachel.
Sadly, once Millie was born, Bailey’s strength began to fail. His body grew weaker by the day.
Holding out hope that they would be able to celebrate Christmas together, Bailey’s parents encouraged him to make a list of the gifts he wanted. Showing the same selflessness he’d had throughout his battle, Bailey asked for presents he knew his younger brother, Riley, would enjoy.
Just before Christmas, the extended family came to the house to say their goodbyes. As Bailey’s grandmother cried and told him she wished she could take his place, the young boy admonished her:
“That is really selfish Nan,” he told her. “You have grandchildren to take care of.”
Eventually, the cancer reached Bailey’s brain. After enduring five painful days of radiotherapy, the brave boy told his family he knew it was his time to go.
“I want to stay but it’s my time to go, to become her guardian angel,” Bailey said, speaking of his baby sister.
On December 22, Bailey became unresponsive as the cancer took over his tiny body. His family stayed by his side as he slowly slipped away.
“We sat there hour by hour, watching him slip away,” Rachel said. “We read him stories and listened to his favorite music.
“By 11:45 a.m. on Christmas Eve, we were by his bedside. We knew it was not going to be long. We told him ‘It’s time to go Bailey. Stop.’”
At that moment, a single tear slipped out of Bailey’s eye. He took his final breath and peacefully passed away.
The family is heartbroken he is gone, but said they find comfort knowing he is finally at peace.
“We are numb, but in a way also happy he is no longer in pain,” Lee said.
Now they are determined to follow the wishes of their young son, who was wise beyond his years.
“He told us in our last family meeting: ‘You’re only allowed to cry for 20 minutes,” Rachel said. “You have to take care of Riley and Millie.”
His story is a heartbreaking one, but his courage, strength, and positivity in the face of pain and hardship will inspire people all around the world. While his family grieves his loss, they know his light and legacy will continue to live on.
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