Bailey Cooper was only 9 years old when he had a non-Hodgkin lymphoma relapse.
Doctors told his family that he wasn’t going to make it, and Lee Cooper, Bailey’s father, Rachel Cooper, his mother, had the difficult task of breaking the news to him.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the name given to a kind of cancer that grows within the glands and vessels of the human body.
Bailey was diagnosed and the condition discovered when the cancer was already in stage three. He had to undergo chemotherapy, and it seemed to work.
Eventually, he was believed to be cancer-free and went back to Stoke Lodge school. Regular MRIs and check-ups showed that things were all good.
But when it came back, they had to rush him to the hospital. Doctors had told them before that if the cancer ever returned, they wouldn’t be able to do anything anymore.
This time, Bailey had late stage four cancer, and it was extremely aggressive and much worse than before.
Lee and Rachel had to very gently tell this to Bailey, who needed a couple of hours there to process it. Then, he smiled at his parents and asked to go home.
After processing the news, Bailey had one main concern – that he wouldn’t be able to meet his baby sister.
Rachel had told Bailey and his sibling Riley that she was pregnant just a few months prior, and the news of soon-to-be-born sister Millie launched Bailey’s spirits over the moon.
Bailey constantly wanted to be around Rachel, cuddling to her tummy and trying to listen to Millie.
He would read stories to her and sing to her, and all he wanted to do was meet her.
He vowed that he would live long enough to do so – and he succeeded. On the 30th of November, 2017, little Millie was born.
Bailey was immediately smitten with his baby sister. Despite how frail he was, he would rush up to Rachel’s bed and ask to hold Millie, then refuse to let her go.
He wanted to spend all his last days with her, and he would help care for her so he could spend more time with her.
He helped to feed her, bathe her, sing to her, and change her, and he made sure he held her every single day.
He was extremely determined in his actions and continued to perform them until he was no longer physically capable of doing so.
Sadly, on Christmas Eve that same year, just less than a month after meeting Millie, Bailey passed away.
Rachel and Lee have tried their best to cope since then, especially Rachel, whose entire daily routine has changed without Bailey’s cheerful banter and mischief.
In spite of the tragedy, Millie has helped Lee and Rachel cope so much, and they are learning to treasure the brief near-decade they were able to spend with their amazing son.
They will also tell Millie stories of her brother, to make sure she knows about him and how much he loved her.
She now points at pictures of Bailey when they mention his name, and her whole face lights up when she sees photos of him.
Share away, people.