‘Friends do that for each other’

When news spread late this spring that Greenwood Middle School student Cooper Davis had been diagnosed with leukemia, his friends knew they had to help.

Almost immediately, kids, church members and teachers began brainstorming what they could do to help the family.

Cooper, son of Larry and Sandy Davis of Greenwood, had plans to attend Greenwood Middle School starting this August with his classmates from Southwest Elementary School. He would play the trombone in the school band and attack a challenging high-level curriculum, and he was excited. His friends were making plans. It would be a great transition year.

Then came the subtle indications that something was wrong. Fatigue. Back aches. A lack of desire to hang out with friends. Something was definitely not right.

Initially, news of Cooper’s leukemia was met with some relief as the preliminary diagnosis showed Cooper suffered from a form of leukemia with a high percentage of recovery.

Further testing, however, revealed he was suffering from a form of the disease better known as PH+, a type of leukemia associated with the Philadelphia positive chromosome. This variety is more stubborn and requires a much more concentrated regiment of chemotherapy. Cooper faces periods of treatment that last for days, even weeks.

The news that Cooper suffered from leukemia rattled everyone. Cooper, the kid with the smile on his face nearly all of the time and a great sense of humor, was hurting.

Almost immediately ideas started pouring in about how to help him and his family deal with not only the mounting medical costs but also the task of keeping Cooper’s spirits high.

The family was quickly surrounded by members of their church, school friends and former teachers who offered spiritual support and help with meals and errands. Cooper was quickly placed on prayer lists throughout the area. Suddenly, the name Cooper Davis was recognized as the young leukemia patient who was fighting the fight.

Since that day in late spring, money-making projects, with proceeds going directly to the Davis family, have sprung up. T-shirts with “Cooper’s Trooper” boldly printed on them were sold by Becki Habig, Cooper’s fifth-grade teacher. Hundreds of light blue shirts were received and delivered, with all proceeds benefiting the Davis family.

Lemonade stands have popped up around Greenwood. A football scrimmage at Greenwood Middle School raised money for the Davis family. Teachers donated nearly $200 for a special “Jeans Day” at Southwest in Cooper’s honor. The list continues to grow.

Despite the efforts to help financially, it has been the outpouring of prayer that has comforted the family above all else, the family says. People have prayed for Cooper’s recovery who do not even know him. It is that knowledge that keeps the family going through the hardest of days. Cooper, too, is aware of the people who offer him their support and words of encouragement on those days that are the most challenging.

For now, Cooper has an army of supporters who are there for him. As the treatments increase and the trips to the hospital last a little longer, it is that knowledge that keeps him positive and ready to face the next day.

One of Cooper’s best friends, sixth-grader Andrew Jones, son of Steve and Donna Jones, ordered and sold hundreds of rubber bracelets with the “Cooper’s Trooper” clearly visible, earning more than $4,400 for the family.

Andrew Jones knew immediately that he wanted to help his best friend, and selling bracelets was the idea he came up with. He set up a table at his church and has sold the bands to his school friends and found supporters of Cooper everywhere he turns.

Andrew said he was determined to help Cooper because the boys had always been the best of friends.

“Cooper has always had my back, and I wanted to do the same for him,” he said. “Friends do that for each other.”

Andrew has been amazed at the generosity he has seen from the people who have purchased the bracelets.

“In the beginning, I thought I could sell the bracelets easily, but I didn’t think I’d get this much money. Two-thousand dollars was my initial goal, but now I have made over $4,000.”

Andrew has stuck by his motto that shows his determination to help his best friend: “Any amount helps and every penny counts.”