Tragically, a nine-year-old boy from Bristol, England died on Christmas Eve after bravely battling his cancer for 15 months.
It is always sad when a child dies, and the fact that he died on Christmas Eve makes the whole story even more heartbreaking. What makes young Bailey Cooper’s story nonetheless heartwarming is that fought his cancer long enough to meet his new baby sister, and he even picked her name—Millie.
Lee and Rachel, Bailey’s parents, heard the sort of news every parent dreads—their child was very sick. It all started when Bailey wasn’t feeling too well. At first, doctors thought Bailey had a virus, and then they thought he had a chest infection. It wasn’t until blood tests were run that everyone learned the awful truth: Bailey had non-Hodgkin lymphoma; it was already, unfortunately, stage three.
Doctors were optimistic that Bailey would recover; he was immediately treated with chemotherapy as well as steroids, and he was actually in remission in February of 2017. Obviously, he was required to go in for checkups and imaging regularly for three months, but things were definitely looking up for Bailey.
He even went on vacation at Easter to Finlay Holiday Park. He was at the Paignton Zoo when his parents received a call saying Bailey’s condition was poor. He had relapsed. Bailey also didn’t seem to be feeling too well, as he was tired and restless.
Unfortunately, imaging showed that Bailey’s chances weren’t great and that the situation was a dire one. He was given about a 70 percent chance to survive. So Bailey went through chemotherapy again. His father was told that Bailey would suffer long-term effects of the chemotherapy for the duration of his life if he managed to beat the cancer. Still, the family had to try.
He ended up in remission again in July of 2017 and spent a wonderful six weeks at home with his family; his mother described them as “amazing”.
August rolled around, though, and the news was worse than ever. The family was told by medical professionals that nothing could be done for Bailey. Actually, they were told he had weeks left, possibly just days. The cancer was stage four, and it was certainly very aggressive and spreading quickly. Lumps were found over many organs of the boy’s body.
Bailey was braver than most of us would be, really. He broke down at first, but within a couple of hours it seemed as if he had taken it all in. He asked to go home. In the months that followed, he would plan his own funeral, knowing that he was going to pass on.
Bailey’s mom was pregnant and due at the end of November of 2017, and Bailey desperately wanted to meet his little sister. In what was a truly impressive and heartwarming show of determination, Bailey persevered and was able to meet little Millie when she was born at the end of November. On the way to the hospital, that’s when he decided the little girl should be named Millie.
Although their time together was short, Bailey’s mom said that Bailey enjoyed his time with Millie. He would hug her, sing to her, and do all of the things a wonderful big brother would do with his baby sister—including change her!
Bailey was reportedly also quite close to Riley, his younger brother.
Although he was able to enjoy a bit of time with his baby sister, Bailey’s health began to worsen quickly after meeting her.
Bailey ended up being taken to the hospital on the 22nd of December, dying just a couple of days later. Prior to his death, because the cancer had reached his brain, he was largely unresponsive and on very strong painkillers.
He apparently told his parents that he wanted to stay, but it was time for him to go become Millie’s “Guardian Angel”.
His parents told Bailey to stop fighting, and when they said ‘stop’, that’s when Bailey took his final breath, with a single tear coming out of his eye as he did.
He had told his parents they were only allowed to cry for 20 minutes, and he wanted everyone at his funeral dressed up like superheroes.
Lymphoma refers to a cancer of a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a group of lymphomas, is a relatively rare disease all things considered—it is, however, one of the more common cancers in the United States. It is the 6th most common cancer in the United Kingdom.
It only impacts roughly 2 percent of people during the course of their lifetimes, and it typically impacts people over the age of 65, which makes Bailey’s diagnosis and ultimate death even sadder. Furthermore, it has a relatively good 5-year survival rate in developed countries. Certain genetic diseases and autoimmune diseases make one more likely to contract the disease. Other risk factors include HIV infection and the Hepatitis C virus.
H/T – Source